Quick Look: Gulfstream V

The first ultra-long-range biz-jet

December 1, 2013

gulfstream vThe Gulfstream V was the world’s first ultra-long-range corporate jet. Developed in response to Bombardier’s unveiling of the Global Express, Gulfstream’s successor to the long-range G–IV was formally launched at the Farnborough Air Show in September 1992.

To produce the G–V, Gulfstream lengthened the G–IV fuselage by seven feet and designed a larger, more efficient wing, along with a bigger tail. The cockpit was enlarged, a new auxiliary power unit was developed, and the avionics bay and airstair door were relocated.

Most G–Vs can accommodate up to 19 passengers in three seating areas, and have a galley, lavatory, and baggage compartment that is accessible in flight. While the Gulfstream V can carry roughly the same number of passengers as a G–IV-SP, it can fly much farther—6,500 nautical miles, which enables nonstop flights between North American cities and Europe.

The Gulfstream V was originally equipped with the Honeywell SPZ-8500 avionics suite, which featured six eight-inch-by-eight-inch CRT displays, but the cockpit has since been updated in numerous ways, including being fitted with the smaller, lighter PlaneView package, a unique version of the Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite, which also includes Gulfstream’s enhanced vision system.

Major partners on the G–V included BMW and Rolls-Royce, which provided the aircraft’s two BR710 turbofan engines; Northrop Grumman (née Vought), which produced the wings; and Fokker, which built the tail.

The G–V first took to the air on November 28, 1995, and made its public debut at the 1996 National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando. Provisional FAA certification was granted in December 1996, with full U.S. approval coming in April 1997, followed by the initial delivery to TV Guide magazine publisher Walter Annenberg in July of that year.

Shortly after entering service, the G–V began setting numerous speed and distance records, including the first nonstop business jet flight from New York to Tokyo. Later that year, the Gulfstream V development team won the National Aeronautic Association’s prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy “for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America” in 1997.

Besides those airplanes built for private and corporate use, numerous special-mission Gulfstream Vs are flown by military and government operators. The U.S. Air Force flies numerous C–37A VIP transports, and the Israeli Ministry of Defense and Japan Coast Guard operate specially configured G–Vs. The National Center for Atmospheric Research uses its G–V as an airborne laboratory for environmental and atmospheric studies.

A total of 194 Gulfstream Vs were built between 1997 and 2002 before being superseded by the G–V-SP (G500) and G550. Although the prices of many corporate jets dropped precipitously starting in 2008, the G–V and other very-long-range aircraft have suffered less price erosion than most other types. Today, Gulfstream Vs are valued at between $15.75 and $23 million, according to Vref.

Robert A. Searles is an aviation writer and editor.