Gulfstream has announced a range increase for the G150 mid-size business jet as the first aircraft enters service as a company demonstrator. Range with four passengers and two crew has been increased by 460km (250nm) to 5,460km at Mach 0.75 thanks to a drag-reduction effort conducted jointly by Gulfstream and the G150's developer, Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).
"We knew we could do better than the published performance," says Pres Henne, Gulfstream senior vice-president programmes, engineering and test. The two companies jointly developed the drag-reduction package, which included redesign of the engine pylon based on computational fluid-dynamics analysis by IAI.
Also contributing to the improved performance are cabin weight savings achieved by Gulfstream's completion centre in Dallas, Texas, where green G150s ferried from Israel are outfitted for delivery. "The first outfitted aircraft came out at our target number, which is 100lb [45kg] less than the specification number," says Joe Lombardo, Gulfstream chief operating officer.
Final performance figures for the $13 million G150 include a 14% reduction in balanced field length to 1,525m (5,000ft), and a 16% reduction in landing distance to 878m. "The aircraft can take off fully loaded from a 5,000ft runway, fly non-stop from New York to Los Angeles against any headwind, and is the fastest in its class," says Henne. Maximum operating speed is M0.85 and range at M0.8 is now more than 4,800km.
A development of the Astra/G100 featuring a wider cabin, the G150 first flew in May 2005 and received Israeli and US certification in November. European approval is expected late this year or early next, says Henne. The first aircraft to be completed, handed over in Dallas on 14 August, includes cursor control of the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics, added late in the programme.
|The G150 is the fastest in its class flying non-stop across the USA|
Gulfstream will not give production projections for the G150, but president Bryan Moss says the company has an order backlog of about a year. He expects substantial sales of the aircraft based on the popularity of the mid-size segment. Over 120 of the rival Bombardier Learjet 60, Cessna Citation Sovereign and Hawker 800XP/850XP aircraft were delivered last year.
Gulfstream says it has not seen any impact from the war in Lebanon. "IAI seems focused on meeting its commitments," says Lombardo. Tel Aviv-based IAI also manufactures the G200 super mid-size business jet.