Gulfstream marked the 25th anniversary of the first flight of the Gulfstream IV on 20 September. The milestone marked "a turning point", says the US airframer. "The GIV was the aircraft that launched a thousand Gulfstream aircraft. It formed the foundation for designing and building the G300, G400, G350 and G450.
Long-time Gulfstream employee Jim Gallagher, an acoustics engineer for the GIV programme, says the aircraft revolutionised the industry. More than 520 of the 536 jets produced in the GIV series are still in operation.
"The GIV set a new standard for technology and, as it evolved, did the same for reliability," says Gallagher, now director, large and mid-cabin sustaining programme. "I believe it became very popular because it was on the leading edge of globalisation. Halfway through its production run, the GIV became the preferred tool of global business-jet travellers because of its speed and range. There was no other aircraft that came close. Companies relied on it to travel worldwide; it helped push global commerce."
Gulfstream marked the 25th anniversary of the first flight of the Gulfstream IV on 20 September
On 19 September 1985, three months ahead of schedule, the aircraft took off on its 1h flight from Savannah International airport, piloted by Lee Johnson and Ted Mendenhall. The GIV was certificated on 22 April 1987 and entered service two months later. The Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8-powered aircraft was larger, lighter, quieter and more aerodynamic than its predecessor, the Gulfstream III and offered a maximum range of 4,300nm (7,964km) and maximum speed of Mach 0.88. "It was the first business jet built with an all-glass cockpit, including state-of-the-art auto throttles, and offered a new concept at the time, a flight management system," says Gulfstream.
Although Gulftream called a halt to G1V-series production in December 2002, the in-service fleet has accumulated more than 3.4 million hours.