Aircraft Overview: Gulfstream G550
Gulfstream’s G550 is an ultra-long-range category business jet that represents one of two commercial designations for the Savannah, Georgia-based manufacturer’s GV-SP type. The company announced the G550 in 2000, with the GV-SP type receiving FAA approval on Aug. 14, 2003, and the airframe entering service that same year.
From a design perspective, the FAA type certificate data sheet (TCDS) notes that the GV-SP is “the same as” the company’s GV type, except for changes to the avionics, aerodynamics, cabin and engines, as well as “operational changes for increased” economics, performance and range.
According to that FAA TCDS, the G550’s maximum passenger capacity is 19, with those passengers accommodated in a cabin that has a length of 43 ft. 11 in.—excluding the baggage area—finished cabin height of 6 ft., finished cabin width of 7 ft. and volume of 1,669 ft.3 Despite that maximum passenger capacity, Gulfstream promotes the cabin as having the capability to sleep up to eight passengers when so configured, with the cabin space able to be divided into up to four living areas.
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Mission and Performance
Operating limitations for the G550 include a maximum operating Mach number (MMO) of 0.885 Mach and maximum operating altitude of 51,000 ft. Beyond that airspeed limitation, Gulfstream states that the high-speed and long-range cruise speeds are 0.85 Mach and 0.80 Mach, respectively, while the airframe’s initial cruise altitude is 41,000 ft. Based on the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), sea-level altitude and standard conditions, this version of the GV-SP type has a takeoff distance of 5,910 ft. Assuming the same criteria except for the maximum landing weight, the airplane’s landing distance is 2,770 ft.
In addition to the G550’s 91,000-lb. MTOW, Gulfstream also states that the basic operating weight—with four crew and “based on theoretical standard outfitting configurations”—is 48,300 lb., while the maximum payload is 6,200 lb. When carrying the full fuel capacity, that maximum payload is reduced 1,800 lb.—also assuming the theoretical standard outfitting configurations—with GV-SP airframes marketed as the G550 having a usable fuel capacity of 41,300 lb.
Many operators routinely fly their aircraft at Mach 0.83 to 0.85 on missions shorter than 12 hr. Such cruise speeds enable them to fly nonstop between most city pairs in North America and Europe, and one-stop between most cities in the Western Pacific and North America.