Gulfstream Aerospace’s launch today of its new G500 and G600 large-cabin business jets was a well-kept secret, especially since the programs have been in the works for five years. During an event at its Savannah, Ga., headquarters, the company surprised guests by rolling out a prototype of the G500 under its own power.
The world’s longest-range business jet–the Gulfstream G650ER–was certified this week by the FAA, the Savannah, Ga.-based aircraft manufacturer announced yesterday. Gulfstream Aerospace revealed the 7,500-nm business jet in May at EBACE and expects to deliver the first fully outfitted G650ERs to customers by year-end, a few months ahead of previous delivery date projections.
London Heathrow Airport is the site of Gulfstream Aerospace’s new European parts distribution center. The center houses commonly required high-usage items and provides rapid-response support to Gulfstream’s service center at London Luton Airport.
Gulfstream Aerospace named Jim Tait vice president of sales operations and analysis. He will oversee customer relationship management, commercial contracts, market research, aircraft pricing, residual-value analysis and customer financial support. Tait joined Gulfstream in 1999 as a senior financial controller and was promoted to director of financial planning and analysis in 2000. He has more than 25 years of experience in the engineering, defense and aviation industries, focusing on long- and short-range business plans, trend analysis, financial outlooks and pricing strategies.
The FAA is proposing a $425,000 civil penalty against Gulfstream Aerospace for failing to comply with training-related FARs. The penalty, announced by the agency on September 16, was the result of inspections conducted in November 2009 and March 2010. At that time the FAA determined some Gulfstream mechanics did not complete required training within time limits required in its FAA-approved training manual and that they missed numerous training deadlines.
Gulfstream announced plans on Tuesday to build a new $33 million aircraft paint facility on the southwest side of its Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport headquarters. “The announcement came up unexpectedly as a result of a Savannah Economic Development Agency [SEDA] board meeting that happened that day,” a company spokesman told AIN.
Spirit Aeronautics of Columbus, Ohio, has named Bill Highfill director of maintenance. He will be responsible for aircraft maintenance, avionics and interior refurbishment operations. Highfill has 17 years of experience at Gulfstream Aerospace, Indianapolis Jet Center (now Comlux Aviation Services) and Arinc. Previous senior positions include director of maintenance, general manager and senior operations manager. Highfill graduated from Embry-Riddle University, where he studied business aviation maintenance management and aviation maintenance technology.
There are now four Gulfstream G650 jets owned by Russian billionaires, but one of these is currently grounded as a result of U.S. economic sanctions against Russia. The aircraft in question is owned by oil and gas entrepreneur Gennady Timchenko, who was blacklisted earlier this year by U.S. government sanctions due to his close associations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Christopher Hart was appointed NTSB chairman. A licensed pilot with commercial, multi-engine and instrument ratings, Hart previously served on the NTSB as board member. He replaces Deborah Hersman.
Gulfstream Aerospace promoted Leda Chong to senior vice president for Asia-Pacific yesterday, a position where she will be responsible for business development, strategic planning and government relations within the Asia-Pacific region for both Gulfstream and the aerospace business group at parent company General Dynamics. Chong, who is based in Beijing, has also joined Gulfstream’s leadership team and now reports directly to Gulfstream president Larry Flynn.