Aircraft manufacturers are tackling the challenges of providing after-sale support for their aircraft like never before, with stepped up efforts in areas ranging from improved parts distribution and pricing to the addition of factory-owned service centers and authorized independent facilities. Two long-range business jet manufacturers, Gulfstream and Dassault, are at the forefront of efforts to improve support on a global scale.
Gulfstream, which has been engaged in a dispute with the FAA over whether its new Gulfstream 550 could be certified with the traditional four elliptical window emergency exits, has now apparently satisfied the agency’s concerns in the form of a requirement for “an evacuation crewmember” on all flights carrying 10 or more passengers.
Executive Jet Management, a NetJets company (part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway empire), celebrated another milestone at NBAA 2002 by announcing the addition of the 100th aircraft, a Gulfstream IV-SP owned by Charles Cohen of Design Professionals. EJM president and CEO Albert Pod emphasized, however, that this isn’t the end of its charter fleet expansion–by a long shot.
Gulfstream Aerospace recently delivered the first of an order for five C-37A special mission versions of the GV to the U.S. Air Force. The lease and support service agreement is valued at $477 million and the remaining aircraft are slated for delivery at intervals through September next year. The first aircraft was delivered at Gulfstream’s Savannah, Ga.
Pentar Avionics of Seattle announced availability of the new version of its JetLan airborne network server, the JetLan XP. Besides offering enhanced performance compared to the earlier design, company president Bob Rodgers told AIN the JetLan XP “is a much more modular system that can be upgraded to take advantage of new technology as it becomes available.
Flight testing of Gulfstream’s GV-SP is back on pace following a schedule interruption caused by last month’s terrorist attacks. The latest ultra-long-range business jet from Gulfstream Aerospace, the GV-SP made its first flight on August 31, four weeks ahead of schedule and well on the way to an expected certification date late next year.
The enhanced vision system (EVS)–a tiny infrared camera that marries an image of the world outside the airplane to the head-up display–could easily be listed as one of the most important aviation safety innovations of the last 20 years.
Europe’s JAA has issued type certificate endorsement for the Gulfstream IV and IV-SP, effectively recommending the business jets for approval by the JAA’s 25-member nations. Meanwhile, Gulfstream continues its long-time effort at obtaining JAA certification of its GV. According to Gulfstream v-p and chief engineer Dick Johnson, the company is currently involved in the fourth of five structural tests required by the JAA.
Bryan Moss, 61, who planned to retire this month after six years as Gulfstream vice chairman, will be staying for a little while longer. Gulfstream president Bill Boisture asked Moss to postpone his retirement plans, announced earlier this year, and remain vice chairman indefinitely. A Gulfstream spokesman said Moss’ staying has “no connection” with the surprise resignation of senior v-p of worldwide sales Joe Walker.
Honeywell has delivered an LCD-based Primus Epic avionics system to Gulfstream in Savannah, Ga., for flight trials of the GV-SP, a follow-on to the GV that replaces the jet’s current CRT-based Primus 2000 avionics system. The Primus Epic system for the GV-SP, called PlaneVeiw, includes four 14.1-in.-diagonal flat-panel displays and the I-NAV enhanced moving map that provides a 360-deg view of nearby terrain.