G-III Disappearance May Have Been Staged


Authorities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines appear to be treating the disappearance of an older Gulfstream bizjet as staged. The 1981 G-III, which is registered to a Cheyenne, Wyoming company, took off from Canouan Airport in the Grenadines on the afternoon of Dec. 22 for what was described as a two-hour sightseeing flight. A pilot and three passengers were initially reported to be onboard, but the St. Vincent Times now says its sources have told it two pilots and one passenger were on the plane. Air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft seven minutes after takeoff and it hasn’t been seen since, nor have there been any reports of debris or fuel in the water.

The St. Vincent Times is reporting its sources have said the working theory is the transponder was shut off and the plane headed for a private strip in Venezuela. The publication also says its digging has revealed the plane was being watched by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. The plane is up for sale and has changed hands at least five times in the last six years.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. One would conclude ‘staged’ if any false evidence were created/provided by involved persons that might imply the plane met an untimely demise. It appears there is none. Is it specifically illegal to kill a transponder in flight at the stated altitudes ? (Obv Martha Lunken and the J Morro Bridge stunt not withstanding). The interesting question now is in what form will the plane reappear ? Seems unlikely the FAA runs S code filters waiting for ‘lost’ planes to represent themselves. Maybe they install a different xponder before returning to US airspace. Maybe the plane will be parted out ? Looks like a movie in the making.

    • Legality would never prevent someone from turning a knob to shut down a transponder. Legality won’t prevent installing a new transponder/ADS-B and painting a new N number on the side. Could operate it out of South America until it falls apart. Agree on the movie.

  2. The plane is “missing” because St. Vincent’s requires a flight plan for all flights. So SAR is initiated, just the same as for any plane that didn’t close its flight plan. Otherwise, this wouldn’t have been news.

  3. I am from Cheyenne, Wyoming
    (Born & raised) and I am here to tell you that there are no businesses that could afford a Gulfstream bizjet.
    That right there should have been an indicator that someone was up to no good.
    Cheyenne is a sleepy, little cow town
    Wyoming is a state with more cattle then people.
    Lots of redflags should have been raised.

  4. N337LR Aircraft Registration
    Aircraft Summary
    Fixed wing multi engine
    (21 seats / 2 engines)
    Airworthiness Class Standard/Transport
    Serial Number :337
    Engines : ROLLS-ROYC SPEY MK 511SR (Turbo-jet)
    Horsepower: 1140
    Weight Over 20,000lbs
    Mode S Code 050730332 / A3B0DA
    Registration Details:
    Status: Assigned
    Certificate Issue Date 2023-01-23
    Airworthiness Date: 1981-11-12
    Last Action Date: 2023-01-23
    Registry Source: FAA