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Gulfstream and the need for speed

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 28, 2015
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Inside the G650ER at Avalon. (Seth Jaworski)

Gulfstream says its range of business jets satisfies the time-poor frequent traveller’s need for speed.

“If a CEO wastes 10 minutes he could live to be a billion years old and never make up that 10 minutes,” said Gulfstream regional senior vice-president for international sales Roger Sperry at the Avalon Airshow this week.

“If the CEO loses a million dollars there’s always the capability to make up that million dollars but you can never get time back – and that becomes the value of speed in an aeroplane.”

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Sperry said the difference between flying at Mach 0.8 and Mach 0.9 for someone travelling 300,000 miles (roughly half a million kilometres) a year is about 52 hours less time in the air at the higher speed.

Shorter trips also show gains in reduced operating costs and more efficient use of aircraft. “When you really get down to it at the end of the day a business jet is to save time and operate more efficiently from a user standpoint,” said Sperry.

Gulfstream’s large-cabin and longer range G650ER and G650 as well as in-development models G500 and G600 have a long-range cruising speed of Mach 0.85 and a maximum speed of Mach 0.925.

The G650ER has been on display at the Avalon Airshow, alongside the smaller G280.

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Gulfstream has 15 aircraft operating in Australia and Sperry says the local market has come off its peak of earlier years. But he’s confident of better times ahead: “It will come back. We’ve been in business for 56 years and we’ve seen these cycles since day one.”

He also welcomed the recent move to include newer-model business jets on the list of permitted aircraft that can operate at Sydney and Adelaide airports during curfew hours: “The restrictions that have been lifted helps everyone in business aviation.”

Gulfstream launched two new models in October 2014 – the G500 and G600, bringing to eight its product line-up.

The G500 taxied out under its own power in front of about 3,000 people during the unveiling ceremony at Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia.

Sperry said the G500, which has a range of 9,260km and seats up to 18 people, is being ground tested and is due to begin flight testing later in 2015. The company hope to get certification for the G500 in 2017 with first deliveries in 2018.

Meanwhile, the flight test program for the 11,482km-range G600 is expected to begin 12-18 months after the G500, with entry into service slated for 2019.

The G500 and G600 features a number of technological advancements such as new interactive sidestick controls, eliminating the yoke seen on other Gulfstream models.

Sperry points out that the G500 is the first business jet to have this type of sidestick: “It’s an interactive stick: when the pilot moves, the co-pilot sees and feels his move. With other manufacturers when the pilot moves the stick nothing happens on the other side.

“It’s something we have looked at for a number of years. We believe in the sidestick but we also believe it has to be interactive, simply from a crew coordination and safety standards point of view.”

Moreover, the G500 and G600 flightdeck also will feature 10 touchscreen displays designed by Honeywell to be used for system controls, flight management, communication, checklists and weather and flight information monitoring.

The use of touchscreens has been designed to help improve pilot and passenger safety by reducing the number of switches and easing the workload on pilots.

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The G650ER’s flightdeck. (Seth Jaworski)

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