Gulfstream Opening China Service Center
Gulfstream Aerospace yesterday announced plans to establish a business jet service center in China. Gulfstream Beijing will be a joint venture with Beijing Capital Airlines (Deer Jet) and Grand China Aviation Technik (GCAT) at Beijing Capital International Airport.
Hainan Airlines Group subsidiary Deer Jet is China’s largest business jet charter provider. Its fleet includes 26 Gulfstream aircraft. GCAT, another Hainan subsidiary, offers aircraft repair, maintenance, and overhaul services.
The new facility is in the process of applying for a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Part 145 repair certificate, a requirement for beginning service operations. “We anticipate that we will receive our operating license in the third quarter [of 2012],” said Gulfstream president Larry Flynn.
Gulfstream Beijing will consist of an 82,000-sq-ft hangar and 22,000 sq ft of offices and back shops. Gulfstream product support executive Kay Ardalan, the site’s general manager, will oversee it. Both Gulfstream and Deer Jet employees will staff the facility.
In support of Deer Jet’s fleet of aircraft, the Savannah-based OEM has had a maintenance team based in Beijing since May 2010. The new venture makes the airframer the first business jet manufacturer to offer maintenance, repair and overhaul services for its customers in China. Other facilities available to Gulfstream operators in Asia are authorized warranty repair centers Metrojet in Hong Kong and Gulfstream sister company Jet Aviation in Singapore, along with warranty line-service center Jamco Corp. in Sendai, Japan. Metrojet and Jet Aviation have parts and materials for Gulfstream aircraft on site.
The reason is clear. Nearly 50 percent of Gulfstream orders in the third quarter of 2011 were from the Asia Pacific region. There are more than 40 Gulfstream jets in mainland China today, more than 30 of which are in Hong Kong.
Gulfstream announced a firm order for a further 20 jets from Minsheng Leasing in October 2011.
Flynn added, “27 percent of our backlog comes from the Asia Pacific region, and our large cabin segment outpaces the midcabins in this market.” He continued, “We are also working with the Civil Aviation Authority of China to streamline the import process.”
Gulfstream Aerospace has announced that its ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range G650 has achieved new milestones in its flight-test program, moving towards type certification later this year from the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency.
The four aircraft in the flight-test program have accumulated more than 2,675 flight hours in more than 820 flights. The aircraft is expected to enter service the middle of this year, and received a provisional type certificate from the FAA on November 18, 2011, with the full FAA type certificate expected mid-year.
FAA test pilots have flown the jet to confirm its stall speeds and minimum control airspeeds. Additionally, it has completed certification testing of its hydraulics, the fly-by-wire flight controls and its fuel system.
Final testing of the avionics is also complete, including the flight management and automatic flight control systems. In support of approval for flight into known icing, the aircraft was flown with artificial ice shapes to determine aerodynamic performance and confirm acceptable handling qualities in the most adverse conditions.
The G650 has flown for more than 14 consecutive hours, with flight-test data confirming its ability to achieve 7,000 nmi at Mach 0.85. The aircraft has also demonstrated 5,000 nmi at Mach 0.90.
A smaller Gulfstream family member, the super-midsized G280, has also completed several flight-test milestones. The aircraft received a provisional type certificate (PTC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel on December 29, 2011, and a PTC from the FAA will follow. The G280 is slated to enter service mid-year.
The three aircraft in the flight-test program have now flown more than 1,835 hours during more than 685 flights. Serial Number (S/N) 2001 recently completed the 100 percent rejected take-off test, while S/N 2003 finished all function and reliability testing activities and is now being transitioned to testing optional avionics features, including the Head-Up Display (HUD II) and Enhanced Vision System (EVS II).
S/N 2004, the first production aircraft, is undergoing final upgrades in anticipation of its delivery later this year. S/N 2009 is now in initial-phase production, with the fuselage joining under way at Israel Aerospace Industries near Tel Aviv.