Gulfstream wowed the world in 2014 by unveiling two different aircraft types at the same time. With the G600 now in service, we take a look at its next best seller.
IN THE modern connected age of social media, it can be hard to keep a secret. That’s especially true if it’s a company-wide secret, with hundreds of people in the know. Despite this, Gulfstream stunned the world on October 14, 2014, when it announced two new aircraft. One of those aircraft taxied into view under its own power during the announcement. The fact that Gulfstream was able to keep secret not only the development but also the building of the first aircraft in a new aircraft family is little short of miraculous. Not that there weren’t some hints as to what was going to come. Rumours of a mysterious sounding “P42” project had been around for a long time, with many speculating what it could be. But few were prepared for what happened in that Gulfstream hangar on a warm Tuesday morning in October. The G600, the larger of the two aircraft that Gulfstream announced, could be seen as the follow-on from the G550.
At the time of the introduction, Gulfstream had received orders for almost 500 G550s. Rather than taking existing designs and just improving upon them, Gulfstream took the opportunity to introduce a completely clean sheet design, starting with the fuselage barrel itself. By doing this, Gulfstream was able to make the fuselage of the G600 wider than the G550, by as much as seven inches. That might not sound like terribly much, but it creates a feeling of more space in the cabin, especially on longer flights when passengers will be on the aircraft for maybe 12 hours at a stretch. The G600 can carry up to 19 passengers, although typical missions will see the aircraft carry fewer people. Long-range cruise speed is Mach 0.85, which allows the aircraft to fly up to 6,500nm.
From London that makes all of Asia within non-stop range. From New York the G600 can make it as far as Beijing or Dubai without stopping. Travelling from São Paulo it can reach as far as Los Angeles. The interior of every Gulfstream can be customised in every conceivable way, although most owners decide to stay on the cautious side as it’s easier to sell an aircraft with a neutral interior when it comes time to replace the aircraft. Gulfstream opened a new sales and design office in New York in 2018, where owners can go in and spec out their new interiors. As well as carpet and upholstery samples, the office features a huge video wall, where aircraft owners can see firsthand their chosen interiors.
As well as an exciting new cabin, the cockpit has been completely revised, using Gulfstream’s latest Symmetry Flight Deck. This includes active sidestick controls, which causes both pilots’ sidesticks to move when one is used – the first time this has been seen in business aviation. The cockpit itself has been cleaned up and now includes 11 touchscreens, although one is reserved for the cockpit security system. The result is an ultra-modern and clean-looking cockpit, which is not only safer for all on board, but also more comfortable for the pilots. Not everything has changed though. Gulfstream’s beautiful, large signature oval windows, which allow so much natural light to flood into the cabin, are here to stay. Gulfstream proved with the introduction of the G600, in parallel with the G500, that if the timing is right, it can launch two new aircraft at the same time. The big question though, is will history repeat itself?