One of a Kind

With rugged reliability and adaptability, the G450 is poised for the future
g450, aviation, cabin, design
Written By J. Mac McClellan

Think about some of Gulfstream’s most recent avionic advancements—cursor-controlled devices, head-up display, synthetic vision—and recent mandates such as ADS-B and LPV that have further improved aviation.

Now consider that each of those upgrades, before becoming part of the Gulfstream fleet, went through some of its initial testing on a Gulfstream G450 flight test platform.

The G450’s role as a test bed and proving ground for the most sophisticated avionics in use speaks to the plane’s proven performance, but also to its adaptability and reliability. Pilots know this is a supremely well-balanced aircraft that is highly responsive and capable of fast climbs and long missions with full payload.

Those traits show themselves in the real world, too. The G450 is based in 53 countries around the world and serves in high-demand roles such as coast guard search and rescue, medevac units, and is the airplane of choice for dozens of Fortune 500 companies for its ability to make international flights with all of the seats filled.

The current leader in the G450 fleet of 310 aircraft has logged more than 7,355 hours and 3,476 landings. With an industry-leading NBAA reliability rating of 99.9 percent, the G450 can be considered the workhorse of business aviation—ready to go day in, day out.

While other Gulfstreams have been created for missions that require different ranges or cruise speeds, the G450 plays a vital role in the Gulfstream product line for high-speed missions up to 4,350 nautical miles/8,056 kilometers. Airplanes of similar cost can’t match the G450 in cabin comfort, range and payload, advanced safety equipment and overall value. And no jet can match the G450 in flying experience, plus the hundreds and even thousands of refinements made over the years of continuous production and technological advancement.

Refinement is a good word for describing the cabin. The G450 has the longest cabin in its class—40 feet 4 inches/12.29 meters—providing ample room for three living areas. A high-definition entertainment area, a conference area or a private stateroom are all options owners can explore when they outfit the plane. There are lavatories fore and aft. And the aircraft’s generous center of gravity—so helpful in handling the airplane in flight—also has benefits in the cabin. That generous center means owners can opt to put the large galley in the front or rear of the cabin. The airframe is so well centered, it can handle the heaviness of the galley outfitting without having to add ballast at the other end of the fuselage.

Also an option for those who love their technology is a cabin management system controlled by a smartphone. Adjust the lights, the music, the window shades, the temperature—all done on an iPhone, iPad or Google Android device.

As neat as that may be, the G450 is a hands-down winner in one category that isn’t appreciated until it’s desperately needed—payload. The G450 boasts 6,000 pounds—3 tons—or 2,722 kilograms, maximum load.

The G450 is so capable that owners can fill the fuel tanks providing a range of 4,350 nautical miles/8,056 kilometers at a fast Mach .80 cruise and still carry 2,500 pounds/1,134 kilograms of passengers and baggage—that’s unheard of from other OEMs. No other business jet in the category offers nearly as much range and payload flexibility. And even at maximum takeoff weights the G450 can use all of the popular business aviation airport runways.

The G450 combines proven value with the latest advances in safety and comfort to remain an unmatched industry leader.

Best of all is that while the airplane is flying high, G450 passengers are not. Gulfstream limits the cabin pressure altitude to 6,000 feet/1,829 meters even when the airplane is cruising at 45,000 feet/13,716 meters. The cabin altitude in other business jets is 8,000 feet/2,438 meters at their maximum altitude and that means more fatigue for passengers after a long flight.

One reason I know the G450 so well is because I was invited to fly and report on many of the plane’s new safety technologies as they were developed.

One of the first advances, and the one that paved the way for very important safety enhancements, was installing a head-up display (HUD), the first in any business jet. A HUD is a glass lens mounted between the pilot’s eyes and the windshield. All necessary flight guidance can be projected onto the HUD lens so the pilot never needs to look down at the instruments and then quickly look up to see the runway to land while flying the landing approach.

With the HUD in place Gulfstream test pilots recognized that an infrared view of the terrain ahead could be projected onto the lens. Gulfstream calls this Enhanced Vision System (EVS) and it allows pilots to see the runway and terrain when normal vision is obscured. The FAA determined EVS is such a safety advantage that G450 pilots are permitted to land in lower visibility than other business jets.

The PlaneView flat glass display system was a huge advance over the original screens and allowed the G450 to show pilots a synthetic view of the airport ahead including terrain and obstructions around the airplane. Synthetic Vision was another Gulfstream industry first, and, of course, it’s in the G450.

The G450 being delivered today is the product of continuous advances in cabin design and materials. Gulfstream’s proprietary in-house acoustics laboratory allows testing of all aspects of cabin furnishing and sound insulation to create the quietest cabin while preserving customer choices of a huge array of woods and materials to customize the cabin.

But it would be wrong to dwell only on the constant refinements Gulfstream has made to the G450 because one of the most powerful advantages of the airplane was built in from the start. And that is its stout construction, robust and redundant systems, and uncomplicated flight controls. The Tay engines have logged more than 1.2 million flight hours, and there are more people qualified to fly and to support the G450 around the world than any other large-cabin business jet. The G450 is so well proven today that the aircraft was the choice for the first trans-Atlantic flight using biofuels. The jet flew from Morristown, New Jersey, to Paris on a 50/50 blend of gasoline made from camelina, an inedible crop, and petroleum-based jet fuel.

The GIV was first to cross oceans and continents nonstop with maximum comfort and safety, and still retain the operating efficiency and flexibility to fly the more common shorter trips. And that’s exactly what the G450 does today. The G450 combines the value of the proven with the latest in safety and comfort advances to remain unmatched as the one-of-a-kind industry leader.

With its unique niche range in the Gulfstream product line—positioned at the midpoint between the 3,600-nautical-mile/6,667-kilometer Gulfstream G280 and the 5,000-nautical-mile/9,260-kilometer all-new G500—the G450 is poised for a long and productive future.

Ranges shown are based on NBAA IFR theoretical range at Mach 0.80 with eight passengers. Actual range will be affected by ATC routing, operating speed, weather, outfitting options and other factors.

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