Today, Gulfstream jets are used as a model for comparing large executive aircraft. The Gulfstream II is the quintessential example of a transcontinental-range jet that has stood alone in its class. After manufacturing the original Gulfstream I turboprop executive jet, Gulfstream completely tore it apart and started from the ground up. The G-II was introduced in 1965, completely altered and enhanced.
The Gulfstream II bears very little resemble to its predecessor, the Gulfstream I. In fact, the only remnant of the original is the large fuselage cross-section. The G-II has upgraded engines, new swept wings and a stand-up cabin.
The G-II is powered by two Rolls-Royce Spey Mk 511-8 engines, each rated at 11,400 lbs of thrust. A large powerhouse is needed to complete the G- II’s transcontinental range capabilities. The inspection interval is 8,000 hours.
The first G-II featured swept wings, a much more aerodynamic alternative to the original Gulfstream I. In later variants, tip-tanks were added to the wings, allowing 4,000 more lbs of fuel capacity, increasing the range to 3,329 nautical miles.
The cabin of the G-II remains one of the largest available in the long-range executive jet class, even compared with newer models. It boasts a stand-up cabin, measuring 6.1 feet, a width of 7.3 feet and a generous length of 33.9 feet. This space comes in a variety of configurations, namely the standard executive arrangement. The club/divan/individual combo seats 10-14 passengers comfortably. Amenities include a large galley, entertainment center, and a full-sized lavatory.
Most of the G-II avionic suites have been upgraded since its early years in the 60’s and 70’s. Analog comm/nav/ident radios and electromechanical instrument displays are replaced with the Honeywell SPZ-800 system with the Sperry SP-50G autopilot. The new cockpit makes the Gulfstream makeover complete by incorporating a more intuitive interface and pilot-friendly features.
If there is one long-range business jet that soars above the rest, chances are it is made by Gulfstream. One of the biggest reasons the G-II performs well against competitors is its completely raw design. Starting from scratch proved to be advantageous for Gulfstream. The G-II is still extremely competitive in its class, offering all the basics as well as the amenities in a business jet.