Gulfstream's Newest Number

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Company Adds G350...

It used to be easy to identify a Gulfstream on the local FBO ramp -- it was a GIII, GIV or GV. If it was short, or had tip tanks, it was a GII; props meant it was a GI. Nowadays, though, you can't tell at a glance and, perhaps most frustrating, the lines between the company's top-of-the-line bizjets have grown, well, fuzzy, with the new numbering system. At the lower end are the former Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)/Galaxy Aerospace types that parent company General Dynamics acquired in 2001 -- the Astra SPX, now rebranded the Gulfstream 100, and the Galaxy, rebranded the Gulfstream 200. There's the forthcoming G150, derived from the G100/Astra SPX. And, of course, there's the G450, 500 and 550, which trace their lineage back to the GIV-SP, GV and GV-SP, respectively.

Now, as if us mere mortals needed more confusion in our Gulfstream-spotting, comes the just-announced G350. Gulfstream Aerospace on Monday confirmed what many had been anticipating for a few weeks -- formal announcement of the company's latest-model bizjet. Dubbed the G350, the newest Gulfstream is billed as a "large-cabin, mid-range" offering and will include the company's PlaneView avionics suite. Gulfstream expects FAA certification of the G350 by the fourth quarter of 2004, with the first customer delivery expected in the third quarter of 2005. The G350 isn't a growth version of the IAI/Galaxy fleet; instead, it is more of a short-range G450. Put another way, it's something like a new GIII-SP.

...As Short-Range Version Of G450

Indeed, according to Gulfstream, the G350 was developed for customers who donít require the G450ís long range but who do want its 40-foot-long cabin, systems and engineering. The 350 will share the G450's physical dimensions, flight-control systems, engines and cabin space as well as avionics. Gulfstream plans for the G450 and its shorter-legged sibling to share the same type rating, since their cockpits will be virtually identical. Rolls-Royce Deutschland Tay 611 engines, the same basic type as mounted on the 450, will power the G350. The engine was certified by the German LBA (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt) in December 2002. Of course, the new powerplants feature Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), as well as an improved, larger-diameter fan, a modified high-pressure turbine and a new bypass/core mixer. According to Gulfstream, these improvements mean reduced fuel burn, increased operating margins, increased thrust for improved takeoff and climb performance, and extensions of maintenance intervals to 6,000 hours midlife and 12,000 hours for full overhaul. "With its competitive price and performance points, we are confident the G350 will appeal to business jet customers, especially those who previously may not have considered a Gulfstream in their business case," said Bryan Moss, president, Gulfstream. "When you look at the entire aircraft -- its range, performance, number of standard features, product support and price -- the G350 offers exceptional value." Look for the GIII-SP, err, G350 coming soon to a Gulfstream store near you.