Gulfstream G150 enters service, with longer legs

 - September 11, 2006, 6:05 AM

Gulfstream’s newly outfitted G150 officially entered service last month in Dallas, coming in with longer legs and lower weight than the company had originally projected. In addition, the aircraft’s required balanced field length has been reduced by 830 feet from the initial estimate.

When the G150 was rolled out in Tel Aviv on January 18 last year, the maximum range with four passengers and two crewmembers was pegged at 2,700 nm at Mach 0.75. Drag-reduction efforts by builder Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) stretched that range to 2,950 nm.

At an entry-into-service ceremony at Gulfstream’s facility at Dallas Love Field, where the “green” airplanes are flown for completion, the company verified the outfitted weight of the G150 came in lower than originally estimated as a result of engineering design, material selection and manufacturing techniques.

A New Niche

Preston Henne, Gulfstream senior vice president for programs, engineering and test, told Dallas employees and suppliers that the G150 opens the door for Gulfstream to a new and broader group of customers in what the company refers to as the mid-cabin aircraft market. He said the 4,500 aircraft in that segment make up roughly one-third of the entire business jet market, and three out of four of those owners will be looking to replace their aging aircraft in the next few years.

The G150 is a larger-cabin version of the G100, which started out as the Astra SPX. The new cabin is not only 12 inches wider than that of the G100 but also two inches taller, rendering its headroom just three inches less than in the large-cabin G450 and G550. The fuselage of the G150 was stretched 16 inches to rebalance the aircraft, while the nose was shortened and the cockpit widened, improving visibility.

Powered by a pair of Honeywell TFE731-40ARs, the G150 can reach speeds up to Mach 0.85 and an altitude of 45,000 feet. At long-range cruise with four passengers, it can connect cities such as New York and Los Angeles, London and Moscow or Rio de Janeiro and Santiago. For shorter flights it can carry up to nine passengers.

The G150 flight deck features Collins Pro Line 21 avionics, with four 12- by 10-inch LCD adaptive flight displays, dual integrated digital FMS, dual AHRS, TCAS, turbulence weather radar and Collins Pro Line radio sensors. Gulfstream said the price is $13 million “fully outfitted.”

Gulfstream introduced the G150 in September 2002 at the NBAA Convention. Following its rollout at the IAI plant on Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, S/N 201 made its first flight on May 3, 2005, which lasted 4 hours and
13 minutes. The aircraft received its certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of Israel and the FAA on Nov. 7, 2005, 10 weeks ahead of schedule. This marked the first time that two civil aviation agencies certified the same aircraft on the same day, according to Gulfstream.

The first aircraft to enter service is S/N 202, for which Bryan Moss, Gulfstream president, displayed the ceremonial key. The G150 will
be used to train Gulfstream and customer pilots and serve as a sales demonstrator. Gulfstream declined to discuss sales and production figures, but Moss said the backlog is about one year.

Launch customer NetJets has ordered 50 G150s and holds options for 50 more. Using new production techniques, IAI, which also builds the G200, said it can build at a rate of four aircraft a month.