Industrial Tour: Gulfstream Jets

LABS tours Gulfstream jets



By Wendy Wert, Editor 

On November 15, 2007 Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (Gulfstream) hosted the Los Angeles Basin Section (LABS) of California Water Environment Association on a tour of their Long Beach Facility followed by a dinner presentation at the Lakewood Country Club.  Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, founded in 1958, is a subsidiary of General Dynamics.  The company has produced more than 1,500 aircraft for corporate, government, private and military customers around the world. More than one-quarter of Fortune 500 companies operate Gulfstream aircraft. 

In addition more than 152 government and military Gulfstream aircraft are in service with 35 nations in a variety of roles including photo reconnaissance, maritime surveillance, medical evacuation, weather research and astronaut training. The Gulfstream IV-SP and the Gulfstream V’s robust construction and versatility allow these aircraft to be adapted for special missions. For example, a Gulfstream IV-SP is used as a hurricane tracker for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Most recently, Gulfstream delivered a special mission GV aircraft to University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). This aircraft will be available for use by environmental and atmospheric scientists for high-altitude atmospheric research. The large cabin and efficient short-field takeoff performance of the GIV-SP and the GV also make them popular for medical evacuations.

Gulfstream Interior

Roger Bowman, Gulfstream Environmental Manager, guided attendees on a tour of the West Coast and Pacific Rim Service Center.  Participants were permitted to observe these remarkable aircraft in various states from rehabilitation to luxurious customization.  Most of the Gulfstream airplanes are built at the Savannah, GA facility and then flown to the Pacific Rim Service Center in Long Beach for finishing, which consists of customizing the interior and painting the exterior.  In the late 1990’s Gulfstream needed to expand manufacturing and painting facilities in order to accommodate growth in the aeronautical sector.  Gulfstream built the 300,000 sq.ft. paint facility adjacent to the Long Beach Airport. Gulfstream currently employs over 600 people at the manufacturing facility in Long Beach.

The Service Center provides complete finishing support from a woodshop staffed with exceptional craftsmen to an exterior painting facility where the paint bay is actually an airplane hanger that acts like a paint booth.  Permitting the painting facility was a 7½ -year effort.  In order to comply with air quality regulations a change rate of 1 ton of air per minute is maintained in the paint booths.  Air is filtered through 100,000 pounds of activated carbon.  The process of finishing these aircraft takes approximately 13 to 15 weeks.

LABS members got an up-close look at the incredible Gulfstream business jets – including this one inside the paint hangar.

Roger explained that it is the number of landings that determine the life of aircraft.   Several Gulfstream G550’s were on site.  The Gulfstream G550 is the most technically advanced aircraft of the fleet and can fly up to 51,000 feet at speeds up to Mach .885. Powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710 engines, the G550 can fly eight passengers and four crewmembers 6,750 nautical miles this is the longest range available in a business jet. The G550 also features the PlaneViewTM cockpit with an advanced avionics suite. The large-cabin, ultra-long-range G550’s standard equipment includes the Gulfstream Enhanced Vision System and the Gulfstream Signature Cursor Control Devices. Dependent upon the configuration, the G550 can accommodate 14 to 18 passengers. In January 2006, the G550, G500, G450 and G350 business jets all received certification by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

For the past 48 years, Gulfstream has demonstrated a commitment to quality. Notable examples are:

In September 2001 the Federal Aviation Administration certified the Gulfstream Enhanced Vision System (EVS). The Gulfstream EVS dramatically improves a pilot’s overall situational awareness and addresses key elements of the FAA’s Safer Skies Initiative.

On February 20, 2004, the Gulfstream G550 team was selected for the 2003 Robert J. Collier award, the most prestigious aviation/aerospace award in the United States. This is the second time Gulfstream has received the Collier award. The first was in 1997 for the GV Industry Team.

Gulfstream’s technological advances have been achieved under a doctrine of responsible environmental stewardship.  For example Gulfstream has been recognized by the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County for being a “good corporate citizen.”

This means that Gulfstream has been in consistent compliance with all their industrial wastewater discharge requirements. They met their limits for wastewater discharge; they were free from any notices of violation; they maintained their environmental equipment; and they fulfilled their permit requirements.  

The idea for the Certificate of Recognition originated with the Sanitation Districts’ Industry Advisory Council, an advisory group of 18 representatives from different industrial sectors. The Council and the Districts have felt it was important that industries with good compliance records be recognized. The Recognition Program is now in its twelfth year.

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