Along with finalizing the improved specifications, Gulfstream has been putting the necessary product support in place to ensure a smooth entry into service. More than 150 Gulfstream technicians have completed the initial 25-day maintenance training course conducted by FlightSafety International.
The company has also prepared the initial eight service centers to provide support. Cass says the initial centers – all part of the GD Aerospace group with the exception of Metrojet in Hong Kong – were lined up based on the anticipated early deliveries. Other initial service centers are in Savannah, Ga.; Dallas; Appleton, Wis.; Long Beach, Calif.; Luton, England; Geneva and Dubai.
For the G280, Gulfstream has lined up service centers in Savannah, Dallas, Appleton, Las Vegas, Luton, Singapore, Dubai and Basel, Switzerland. As well as facilities run by Gulfstream and its sister company Jet Aviation, Altenrhein Aviation in Altenrhein, Switzerland, is among the initial G280 authorized service centers. More than 90 technicians have completed training for the G280, and the initial pilot training classes have been completed for both models.
In addition to preparing service centers, Gulfstream has taken the Serial No. 2007 G280 on the road to prepare fixed-base operations for handling the new aircraft. The aircraft is also being used for additional function and reliability tests – over and above what is required for certification. These tests will cover items such as cabin systems.
Gulfstream conducted some similar testing on the G650 during the certification program, when it had outfitted the fourth production model with a full interior to conduct complete testing.
Gulfstream is not giving delivery estimates for the G280 this year, but Johnson notes that the company has delivered 10 of its midcabin aircraft through the third quarter and anticipates that the year’s end total will range between 15-20, with the G280 accounting for a number of those deliveries. The G280 is sold out through late 2014.
As for what’s ahead after its newest models, Gulfstream executives are saying little for now. Scott Neal, senior vice president for sales and marketing, says the company is always conducting research and development for new products. But Gulfstream is not ready to reveal anything just yet on potential next aircraft models, Neal says.
The 650, however, is believed to be the first of a family of aircraft, with the next evolution – possibly a truncated version – thought to be well under way.