It’s tough to top the G450, now in its tenth year of production, for reliability, tanks-full payload and value. Prices range from $15 million to $32 million, depending upon age and condition. The G450 is one of the few large-cabin aircraft capable of flying eight passengers 4,300 nm at Mach 0.80 and land with 200-nm NBAA IFR reserves. Compared to first- and second-generation GIV models, it has subtle drag reduction improvements, upgraded RR Tay Mk 611-8C turbofans with FADECs and a larger capacity, quieter APU.

The G450 retains the basic GIV airframe, but it incorporates the GV’s nose section, automated electrical and pressurization systems, higher aileron boost and auto anti-ice control systems, among other changes. The 12-in. longer nose makes possible a much needed stretch in pilot leg room and also a considerably more comfortable jump seat for a third flight deck or cabin crewmember.

Gulfstream also upgraded the aircraft with its signature PlaneView cockpit, featuring four large LCD displays and standard HUD with EVS. PlaneView makes possible paperless chart approval, plus optionally ADS-C for transoceanic operations, CPDLC and synthetic vision, so as an avionics suite it gives away nothing to the newest models.

The main cabin typically is divided into three sections. There is a four-seat club section up front, a four-seat conference section with a credenza or two facing chairs in the center and  an aft semi- or fully-private stateroom with a divan and/or other furniture. The main cabin has dual-zone temperature controls, with a third temperature control in the cockpit. Most operators typically configure the aircraft with a forward galley. Forward crew and aft passenger lavatories are standard with high capacity vacuum toilets. A conformal fresh water reservoir in the baggage compartment yields more net storage volume in the aft bay than in earlier GIV models.

The G450 is more enjoyable to fly than previous GIV models. PlaneView provides unsurpassed situational awareness. The 7:1 boost ratio ailerons make it much easier to hand fly than the 5:1 boost ratio ailerons of its predecessors. The automated systems reduce pilot workload and graphic systems synoptic keep the crew in the loop. But, it still can touch down with a ker-plop because its smallish horizontal tail and elevators are a little short on pitch control authority.

Many of the G450’s systems, carried over from older models, tie into the automated controls adapted from G550. Pilots say they must wait five minutes or more after the batteries are switched on for systems to run through BIT checks before they can start the APU. In very cold weather, crews say they must heat up the cockpit with APU bleed air for 30 to 45 minutes before the PlaneView displays have warmed sufficiently to operate. And it takes an hour or more to update all the avionics databases every 28 days using a laptop.

In daily operations, crews say they plan on burning 3,000 pph on average. First hour fuel burn is 4,500 lb., second hour is 3,000 lb. and third and subsequent hours are closer to 2,500 pph. The aircraft can comfortably fly 9.5 hr. and land with NBAA reserves. Normal cruise speed is Mach 0.82, but the longest missions are flown at Mach 0.78 to 0.80, depending upon aircraft weight.

They also say that Gulfstream’s advertised 43,200-lb. BOW is realistic for the average equipped aircraft. Loading up the aircraft with broadband multi-link, large HDTV monitors, solid-partition bulkheads for the aft stateroom and other options, can boost BOW to 44,000 lb., or more. However, the aircraft still can carry 8 passengers with full fuel, if so equipped.

Airframe, system and engine reliability has been excellent. But, some crews say sophisticated cabin management systems can be cantankerous, thus, potential threatening dispatch reliability.

Basic maintenance intervals are 12-months or 500 hr., whichever comes first. The carbon/carbon wheel brake heat packs last 2,000 landings or more. Each engine costs $1 million to overhaul, but TBO is 12,000 hr. FMS CDUs, emergency batteries, the engine fire detection control box, the horizontal stab actuation motor and APU starter pose occasional problems for operators.

The Gulfstream G450’s main competitors are the Bombardier Global 5000 and Dassault Falcon 900EX/LX, respectively, having 10-in. and 5-in. wider cross sections.
The Global 5000 essentially has the same cabin length as the G450, but the Falcon 900EX has a 3.8-ft. shorter cabin, thus, three seating areas are more cramped. Having leading edge slats, both large-cabin competitors have better runway performance than the “hard wing” G450.

The Global 5000 can fly eight passengers 4,900 nm while cruising at Mach 0.82. But, it’s a larger, heavier and considerably thirstier aircraft. In contrast, the lighter weight Falcon LX can fly 7 passengers 4,600+ nm and it gets better fuel mileage, but it also cruises at Mach 0.75 to 0.78 on the longest missions.

Performance and speed considerations aside, Gulfstream trumps the competition with its unsurpassed product support. That’s a critical consideration when evaluating cost/benefits of pre-owned aircraft. 

With the recent announcement of the G500, the G450 prices are softening rapidly, even though only 5% of the 330+ aircraft in service currently are for sale. If you’re interested in stepping up to a long-range, large-cabin Gulfstream, you’re about to be blessed with a strong buyers’ market. B&CA

Read Fred George's 2003 Gulfstream 450 pilot report.