Grumman warplanes were used by the U.S. military in combat during World War II. You may have heard of the powerful “Cats” invented by Grumman, such as the F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat. When the war ended, Roy Grumman turned his attention to offering purpose-built business aircraft made with the same high-quality structure as military aircraft. He founded Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation in December 1929 and went on to revolutionize general aviation and the jet industry alike.
Introducing the Gulfstream I Aircraft
During the postwar economic boom, Grumman introduced the Gulfstream I. It was a powerful aircraft with turboprop engines that could take the aircraft 33,600 feet in the air up to Mach 0.53. When configured as a business aircraft, it could seat 12 passengers. The aircraft was produced for 11 years, and more than 200 Gulfstream I were made. Some are still in service today, a testament to their high-quality construction.
New Gulfstream GII Aircraft
Gulfstream aircraft received a major upgrade in 1966 when the first Gulfstream GII was produced. Engineers worked to create a jet that could fly nonstop across North America or the Atlantic Ocean. The design was a little different from that of the Gulfstream I, featuring a T-configuration tail and rear-mounted engines. This design helped the Gulfstream GII fly up to Mach 0.88 at 45,000 feet while carrying 19 passengers.
Businesses used the Gulfstream GII to quickly fly to Europe and around the United States. NASA even used the Gulfstream GII to train space shuttle crews because the aircraft could simulate some of the conditions crews would face on the Space Shuttle.
Grumman Operations Move to Savannah, Georgia
In 1967, Grumman separated its business into military and civilian divisions to improve efficiency. Operations moved to Savannah, Georgia, to take advantage of favorable weather conditions that made testing easier. Since that time, Gulfstream aircraft have received several upgrades and new models, such as the Gulfstream GIII in 1979, the Gulfstream GIV in 1985, and the Gulfstream GV in 1995.
General Dynamics Purchases Gulfstream Aerospace
Aircraft manufacturer General Dynamics purchased Gulfstream Aerospace in July 1999 and continued to develop the aircraft by adding midsize options. The G100 and G200 quickly became industry standards for business jets. Other models have since been introduced. Mountain Aviation uses the midsize Gulfstream G150, the super midsize Gulfstream G200, and the heavy Gulfstream G450, all jet aircraft.
Gulfstream was a major contributor to business jet technology. If you’ve ever heard the sonic boom shockwaves of a jet, it is thanks to the innovation of Gulfstream and Grumman warplanes. The G650 is now the world’s fastest civilian jet. It can fly around the world in 41 hours and 7 minutes — and all this was made possible by the innovation of engineers working on the Gulfstream.
The interior of Gulfstream aircraft is just as impressive as are the technology and speed of the jet. Gulfstream has made high-flyer charting comfortable while keeping it a great value for business customers. Not content to rest on its laurels, however, the company continues to break records by innovating in the business aircraft space.
Image via Flickr by TravelingOtter