The first production models of Gulfsteam’s two newest business jets are proceeding down their respective assembly lines, both heading toward type certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Safety Agency in 2011, Gulfstream division vice president for international sales Roger Sperry said Tuesday.
The Gulfstream G650, which the company says is the biggest, fastest, longest range purpose-built business jet, successfully completed its first voyage aloft on November 25 and is due to enter service in 2012. That flight was followed 16 days later by the initial flight of the company’s large cabin, mid-range G250, which Gulfstream designed and built in collaboration with IAI.
Sperry, speaking about the economy, said, “We don’t think there is going to be [further] downturn.” He conceded that sales of midsize cabin airplanes will be flat, though Gulfstream remains bullish on its big-cabin models. “In 2012 you will see that end of the market doing very well,” he predicted.
Gulfstream continues to invest heavily in research and development, Sperry said, in such areas as cabin essentials, advanced flight controls, composites, vision systems and supersonic boom mitigation.
He also said the company also continues to spend money and develop resources to grow the Asian market, which boasted 113 Gulfstream aircraft in 2009. “We’ve been spending a lot of time, energy and money in the region,” he concluded.
In other news, Gulfstream has named Dan Nale vice president of advanced aircraft programs and recently added Jenson Saw as a representative to its field service organization to assist customers in Beijing and surrounding areas. Nale assumes a new position. His duties as vice president of mid-cabin programs have been assigned to Stan Dixon, director of mid-cabin programs.
Saw joined Gulfstream from Jet Aviation, another General Dynamics subsidiary, in Hong Kong as an aircraft engineer, performing aircraft management, line maintenance and regional aircraft-on-ground support. He began his 16-year aviation career in 1993 as an electrical and instrument technician for Airod’s facility at Subang airport in Malaysia.