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Gulfstream announces two new jets to its fleet, to be manufactured in Savannah

By Lou Phelps, Coastal Empire News

October 14, 2014 – The company which continues to drive jobs and economic flight for Coastal Georgia, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp, announced today that it will add two new jet models to its current family of business jets, both to be manufactured in Savannah.

Before a crowd of 3,000 employees, dignitaries and an international press corps from places like Paris and Toronto, Phebe Novakovic, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Dynamics, and Larry Flynn, president, Gulfstream Aerospace, premiered the all-new Gulfstream G500 and G600 models.  The new jets feature optimized speed, the latest in new technology, cabin comfort, advanced safety features and fuel efficiency. 

According to Flynn, the company is committed to continuing to produce all other current models for which there continues to be strong customer interest, he said.

Also on hand were two new substantial customers – Qatar Airlines which will purchase up to 20 jets from Gulfstream - including some of the new models - and Flex Jet which will purchase up to 50 new jets from the company.  Flex Jet had previously purchased aircraft from Bombadier, Gulfstream’s primary competitor in the business and private jet industry. Flex Jet is a leader in the "fractional aircraft ownership" services business.  Both Qatar’s and Flex Jet’s CEOs were on hand, and signed their purchase MOU’s in front of the media in ceremonies held after the unveiling of the new models.

The new jets were rolled out in dramatic fashion, as the back wall of one of the new manufacturing facilities opened up, and a new G500 was driven into view under its own power to applause from the crowd.  And, CEO Novakovic revealed a nearby 70-foot/21-meter mockup of the G600, as well.

The G500’s first flight is planned for 2015, with delivery to customers anticipated by 2017.  The G600 will be ready for customer delivery by 2018, according to Flynn.

Pricing for the new jets is in the "ballpark" of $43.5 million for the G500 and $54.5 million for the G600, according to Flynn.

As to new jobs in Savannah and Brunswick, Flynn reviewed the company’s investment of $550 million since 2010 when the company announced an expansion in the region, though specifics on that investment and purposes for the 2,500 new employees were not disclosed… until today.  The investment includes the two new advanced manufacturing facilities, each more than 400,000 sq ft,  which have been built on Airways Avenue, the roadway that runs parallel to the  main entrance road to the Savannah International Airport, just off Interstate 95. Flynn termed the buildings “Y” and “Z”. 

The company has increased its local employee workforce to its current 10,000 employees in the ... in the Savannah/Brunswick metro areas, in part for the expansion.  Flynn said that he could not be specific about how many more jobs would be created as manufacturing ramps up, but estimated it might be “several hundred more.”  He said these would be quality, high tech jobs.

He also said that he anticipated that the workforce at the Brunswick plant may increase in the future, in addition to the expansion already announced there. (See   That facility is focused on completion work. 

Tuesday’s announcement included more news – that Gulfstream will manufacture its own wings for the two new jet models, a new direction for the company, and the vertical and horizontal stabilizers for each aircraft. Currently these components for all other models come from both U.S. and European suppliers.  Flynn said there would be an investment in high level tools and other processes to complete the wing manufacturing process here. The wing is a new design from other models, as well.

And, the engines for the two new jets will come from United Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney division, versus Gulfstream using Rolls Royce/Deutschland in Germany.  Flynn said there were no plans at this time to stop using Rolls Royce engines in the other models, though the energy efficient of the Pratt & Whitney engines was touted.    

The engines will be manufactured at Pratt & Whitney Canada’s plant at Longeuil, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal.

Gulfstream announced the clean-sheet aircraft before a crowd of approximately 3,000 people. During the event, the first G500 taxied up under its own power, and General Dynamics chairman and

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the power of General Dynamics’ consistent and disciplined investment in both Gulfstream’s research and development and manufacturing facilities,” said Novakovic. “The effect of that investment is manifest in the two airplanes we announced today.”

The range of the two new jets is also a special selling feature.  The G500 can fly 5,000 nautical miles/9,260 kilometers at Mach 0.85 or 3,800 nm/7,038 km at Mach 0.90. The G600 is capable of traveling 6,200 nm/11,482 km at Mach 0.85 or 4,800 nm/8,890 km at Mach 0.90. The maximum operating speed for both aircraft is Mach 0.925, the same speed as Gulfstream’s G650 and G650ER.

“The G500 and G600 build upon the technology present in our G650 and our latest aircraft, the G650ER. Once again, our customers played a major role in the development and creation of these aircraft. The G500 and G600 continue the long Gulfstream tradition of being the first original equipment manufacturer to ensure an optimal combination of speed, range, wide-cabin comfort and fuel burn.”

The cabins for the G500 and G600 are distinguished by their wide cross-sections – 7” wider than other models with the same length, which maximize passenger comfort and aircraft performance.

The finished cabin of each aircraft, which measure 91 inches/213 centimeters wide and 74 in/188 cm tall, provide wide-cabin comfort with considerable head room and shoulder room for passengers. Carrying up to 19 passengers each, the G500 has three living areas, and the G600 has up to four, as well as an optional crew rest. Both aircraft have forward and aft lavatories and include a full-size galley that can be located in either the forward or aft portion of the aircraft. Ample storage space is also prevalent in the baggage compartment, which has 175 cubic ft/5.0 cu m of usable volume.

And, the both new jet models will feature ‘active control sidesticks’ – the first in the business jet industry - which enable both pilots to be consistently on the same page, enhancing safety,” said Dan Nale, senior vice president, Engineering, Programs and Test, Gulfstream. “No other business aircraft on the market has this feature.”

Adding to the pilots’ more intuitive interaction with the aircraft are 10 integrated touchscreens, which will be used for system controls, flight management, communication, checklists and monitoring weather and flight information.

The G500 and G600 incorporate a third-generation Gulfstream EVS, the Synthetic Vision-Primary Flight Display system and Head-Up Display II.

Similar to the G650 and G650ER, the G500 and G600 offer a full three-axis digital fly-by-wire system with benefits that include flight-envelope protection, stability augmentation, increased redundancy and reduced maintenance.

The first flight of the G500 is scheduled for 2015. Gulfstream projects it will receive type certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency in 2017 and begin deliveries in 2018.

The G600 flight-test program is expected to begin approximately 12 to 18 months after the G500’s, and entry-into-service is projected to be in 2019.

“The G500 and G600 are tremendous additions to our family of aircraft, filling a niche in an already extensive product line,” Flynn said. “In 2008, we introduced two game-changers in business aviation, the G650 and G280. Now, six years later, we’re introducing another pair of revolutionary aircraft, the G500 and G600. Thank you to all of our employees for making this possible. Those who build, design, develop, sell, market, service and support our aircraft — you are the best in the business.”

PHOTOS: Above, Phebe Novakovic, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Dynamics, parent company of Gulfstream Aerospace. 

Below, Larry Flynn (standing), president of Gulfstream, discusses announcement that Flex Jet is signing agreement to purchase up to 50 jets from Gulfstream, including some of the new models announced Tuesday in Savannah. Seated are Flex Jet execs, and Gulfstream's Worldside V.P. of Sales and Marketing, Scott Neal.

© Copyright by Coastal Empire News, Savannah, GA. All Rights Reserved.

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