Gulfstream I - fifty years later . . .


#1


Photo taken at Washington National - 30 years ago - when N701G Gulfstream Number One, was already 20 years old!!!

On August 14th, 1958 - Grumman Aerospace test pilots Carl Alber and Fred Rowley took the twin-engine turboprop Gulfstream I - the first aircraft specifically designed for business travel - on its maiden flight over Grumman headquarters in Bethpage, N.Y.

After that first flight, N701G - named after the ocean current that flows along the coast of Florida, a favorite vacation spot of the Grumman executives - underwent about 800 hours of testing. The Gulfstream I received FAA certification on May 21, 1959, and shortly after - N701G was delivered to Sinclair Oil.

In April 1966, under an agreement with the cities of Savannah and Port Wentworh, Grumman acquired 110 acres at Travis Field and relocated its civilian component to Chatham County.

The new facility, designed to house production and flight testing for the Gulfstream II, was dedicated in September 1967, and the original 100 person work force, with the addition of the G650 line will now exceed 5500 employees in Savannah.

Gulfstream built 202 Gulfstream I’s as many as 79 are still flying. As for the Gulfstream II, the first 7 were built at Bethpage, before production moved to Savannah.

Today, Gulfstream, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics Inc.,
has received 100+ firm orders for the G650 and 500+ letters of intent.


This is a photo of N701G taken last summer in Kenya, where it is currently in operation with East African Safari Air as 5Y-XXX.


#2


Photo taken August 14th, 1958 - Bethpage New York, with Albers and Crowley at the controls, and Bob Smyth following in a F8F Bearcat.


#3

Rob,

Is the narrative above citing the history of the Gulfstream and Grumman a product of your fertile imagination or something you cribbed from an old press release?

I ask because of the explanation of the source of its name, “named after the ocean current that flows along the coast of Florida, a favorite vacation spot of the Grumman executives”. The Gulf Stream starts in the Gulf and, along with its extension the North Atlantic Drift, travels the entire east coast of the US, including off Long Island Nova Scotia, crosses the north Atlantic and ends off the coast of Ireland and Britain.

It’s the reason Great Britain is temperate and there are palm trees on the west coast of Ireland.

As the south shore of Long Island is a renowned sport fishing area known for its proximity to the Gulf Stream, especially from the Bethpage adjacent towns of Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa, etc., and given Grumman’s long history of providing carrier aircraft to our Navy and the enormous pool of ex Naval aviators they employed, I sincerely doubt that any Grumman executives found it necessary to travel to Florida to come up with a name for their new aircraft.

Regards,

James


#4

It was in a Gulfstream I, a 1963 , N234MM, that Walt Disney first flew over Central Florida while selecting the site of what became the Walt Disney World Resort. The aircraft is currently preserved at the Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando - part of Walt Disney World.


#5

Doubting James:
The following is straight from the official Gulfstream web page at gulfstream.com/history/index.htm

I added the emphasis below

The History of Gulfstream: 1958 - 2008

The Beginning
The company that evolved into Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. started in the late 1950s when Grumman Aircraft Engineering Co., a company known for military aircraft production, developed a marketable business aircraft at its manufacturing facilities in Bethpage, N.Y. Dubbed the Gulfstream I (GI), the turbo-prop aircraft was named after the Gulf Stream, the current that flows along the coast of Florida, which was a favored vacationing spot for Grumman executives. The GI could sit 12 passengers comfortably, had a maximum speed of 350 mph at 25,000 feet and a range of 2,200 miles. The newly developed aircraft, the first of its kind designed specifically for business travel, was a success in the business world, prompting Grumman to develop a jet-powered corporate aircraft called the Gulfstream II or GII.

The article does NOT say the executives had to travel to Florida to find a name. They Traveled to Florida because they enjoyed vacationing there.


#6

gulfstream.com/history/index.htm

The statement is in Gulfstreams own website history.

The Beginning
The company that evolved into Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. started in the late 1950s when Grumman Aircraft Engineering Co., a company known for military aircraft production, developed a marketable business aircraft at its manufacturing facilities in Bethpage, N.Y. Dubbed the Gulfstream I (GI), the turbo-prop aircraft was named after the Gulf Stream, the current that flows along the coast of Florida, which was a favored vacationing spot for Grumman executives. The GI could sit 12 passengers comfortably, had a maximum speed of 350 mph at 25,000 feet and a range of 2,200 miles. The newly developed aircraft, the first of its kind designed specifically for business travel, was a success in the business world, prompting Grumman to develop a jet-powered corporate aircraft called the Gulfstream II or GII.

thecreativecoast.org/savanna … r-50-years

Came from a local blog from a Savannah resident, who obviously read the Gulfstream Press release.

Also posted; savannahnow.com/node/558096

I was actually attempting to post the blog, but it went into that ‘debug’ mode. Seemed sad, that the G1 turned ‘Fifty’ and I didn’t read about it anywhere else. Quite a milestone for such an Icon in Corporate Aviation.


#7

Do you have a foot in mouth emoticon? :wink:


#8

Thanks for that feedback Rob, it’s greatly appreciated.

NBAA is supposedly planning something commemorative and B&CA will almost certainly have some sort of writeup, if they haven’t already, I’m a few months behind in my reading.


#9

I’ll have to look around for one, will mild embarrassment do for now?http://img13.echo.cx/img13/8421/face081qz.gif

:laughing:


#10

What am I, chopped liver? I also verified it.

Is this the blog you were referencing, Rob?

Gulfstream: Good as gold for 50 years
By Mary Carr Mayle
Created 2008-08-23 23:30

Fifty years ago this month, Grumman Aerospace test pilots Carl Alber and Fred Rowley took the twin-engine turboprop Gulfstream I - the first aircraft specifically designed for business travel - on its maiden flight over Grumman headquarters in Bethpage, N.Y. Half a century, 1,800 airplanes, numerous speed records and several name changes later, Gulfstream Aerospace is firmly entrenched in Savannah, where it’s preparing to roll out its newest business jet, the G650.

“The creation of the G-I would not have been possible 50 years ago without the dedicated and innovative people working at Grumman Aerospace,” said Gulfstream President Joe Lombardo.

“Fifty years later, our employees still make the difference in manufacturing the safest, most reliable and most technologically advanced business jets in the world.”

After that first flight, the Gulfstream I - named after the ocean current that flows along the coast of Florida, a favorite vacation spot of Grumman executives - underwent about 800 hours of additional testing. The G-I received Federal Aviation Administration certification on May 21, 1959, and, shortly after, delivered the first finished plane to Sinclair Oil.

While the G-I was designed specifically for business travel, it also saw service with five U.S. government agencies and all branches of the armed forces. When Grumman was selected by NASA to produce the Lunar Module, a G-I was outfitted with a cargo door to help transport some of the assemblies.

Moving to Savannah

The G-I’s success in the business world prompted Grumman to begin development of the Gulfstream II, the first jet-powered corporate aircraft, and to separate the company’s civil and military aircraft production to improve efficiency.

In April 1966, under an agreement with the cities of Savannah and Port Wentworth, Grumman acquired 110 acres at Travis Field and relocated its civilian component to Chatham County.

There the company found the needed supply of skilled labor, an established airfield next to the plant site and sufficient acreage for expansion. Mild weather favorable to year-round flight-testing and flight-training operations further enhanced Savannah’s appeal.

The new facility, designed to house production and flight testing for the Gulfstream II, was dedicated in September 1967, and the original, 100-person work force grew to more than 1,700 within a few years.

Today, Gulfstream, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics Inc., designs, builds and services a line of luxury business jets, including the large-cabin, mid-range G350; the large-cabin, long-range G450; the large-cabin, ultra-long-range G500; and the large-cabin, ultra-long-range G550 - all of which are built at its Savannah headquarters.

Gulfstream’s net sales for 2007 topped $4.8 billion, up 17.3 percent over 2006. At $810 million in 2007, the company’s operating earnings set an all-time record, some 26 percent better than the year before.

A wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), Gulfstream currently has more than 5,000 employees in Savannah.

“Gulfstream’s impact on Savannah and the surrounding area continues to be huge on a number of levels,” said Bill Hubbard, president of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce.

"Certainly, Gulfstream has proven itself an outstanding corporate citizen with a global reputation that is unsurpassed. There’s no doubt they have helped put Savannah on the map as far as international business is concerned.

“Economically, the numbers speak for themselves,” Hubbard said. “And their commitment to Savannah, with the expansion of their facilities and the announcement that they will build the G650 here, assures us they will be here for 50 more years.”

(This is the printer friendly version of the article - no debug errors)

The article doesn’t mention that some airlines also operated the G1. Royale was one. There were also a few cargo airlines that operated them.


#11

N234MM, MM = Mickey Mouse. I think this plane flew under the call sign “Mickey Mouse One.”


#12

FlightAware Thread regarding N234MM.

Yes that was the Savannah Blog. I had thought when I read it, the writer was somewhat of an insider at Gulfstream. Then I read the Gulfstream press release, which the writer basically copied.

I just updated the copy of a copy with copied photos!

PS: I never knew there were Palm Trees in Ireland???


#13

Common as fleas on a dog. You need to get out more Rob! :laughing:


#14

Do they naturally occur there or were they introduced like the eucalyptus trees were introduced to California ? (I couldn’t find any saying it one way or the other?)