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Gulfstream Delivers 500th G650

Gulfstream Delivers 500th G650

Gulfstream has delivered the 500th G650 family aircraft.

The delivery was made at the airframers Appleton Wisconsin completions facility.

“With an incredible 500 delivered, persistent demand and a host of industry accolades, the G650 and G650ER are undeniably iconic,” said Mark Burns, President, Gulfstream. “This milestone delivery is a strong testament to the tremendous work of our dedicated Gulfstream team. As with all aircraft programs, we continue to invest in the G650 and G650ER to ensure continuous improvement throughout the growing fleet for our customers.”

It is hard to think of a business jet that was as anticipated as much as the G650, nor one that has had such an impact on the industry.

Before the G650, the farthest flying business jet that Gulfstream had released was the G550, which could fly up to 6,750 nmi (12,500 km) at a long-range cruise speed of M0.80, although its maximum speed was M0.885.

But Gulfstream’s customers had told the company that it wanted to go further and faster, so when it came to designing its next aircraft, Gulfstream wanted the aircraft to top every category that there was.

G550 was already one of the farthest flying purpose-built business jets available, but when it came to speed, the Cessna Citation X was the record holder with a top speed of M0.920.

During G650s design phase, Gulfstream’s designers spent extra time redesigning the aircraft’s wing, studying how air flows over it and then optimizing it for speed and range.

The result is a beautifully redesigned wing, which helps the G650 reach a maximum speed of M0.925, M0.005 faster than the Citation X, although Cessna would later fight back by introducing the Citation X+, with a higher top speed.

Unlike other aircraft launches, Gulfstream was keen to ensure that G650s ended up in the hands of people that wanted to own them, and not to people that would place speculative orders.

The G650 was officially announced in March 2018, with a range, speed and price tag that made it the best of the best.

To achieve this, the company introduced a contract clause stating that if you placed an order for a G650, you were not allowed to sell the aircraft until it was delivered. Gulfstream hoped that this would weed out potential speculators, especially given how long the lead time to delivery could be.

Gulfstream also took a different approach when it came to securing a delivery position for an aircraft. This was done in a ‘first come, first served’ way, with a date and time set up by Gulfstream for receiving deposits.

This caused many potential customers to rush to be the first client to wire their deposits to Gulfstream’s bank account, which in some cases came down to the second that the deposit was received.

That first deposit was received from Preston Henn, a Florida-based owner who, according to an interview that he gave in 2014, was on a trip racing cars at the time, and had to stop to make the transfer.

The aircraft that he received was leased straight back to Gulfstream which used it as a demonstrator for several months before Henn sold the jet onwards to a company in Japan, making a hefty profit in return.

However, the honor of having the first G650 delivered is not as simple, as two G650s were delivered on December 20, 2012.

The first one to leave was owned by Steve Wynn, owner of Wynn Resorts, whilst the second one to leave was owned by Exxon Corp. Both left on the same day, just hours apart, but Gulfstream has never confirmed which one was delivered first.

With G650 interest even being picked up by the mainstream press, the first pre-owned transaction made headlines as well as the seller earned a premium by selling the aircraft.

That first re-owned transaction was completed by Bernie Ecclestone, best known as the former Chief Executive of Formula One, who sold his aircraft to a Thai businessman for USD$72 million – more than $10 million more than he originally paid for it.

Gulfstream announced an extended-range version of the G650 in early 2014 called the G650ER. As well as being an option for new deliveries, existing G650s could be brought up to G650ER standard by modifying the fuel system which allows for additional fuel to be loaded into the G650s wings.

The USD$2 million option took less than one week to complete and added a further 500nm in range to G650s’ already impressive range.