Mark Burns FRAeS, President of Gulfstream since July 2015 gave the 53rd Sir Henry Royce Lecture. Braky Zewde MRAeS and Mario Di Martino AMRAeS report on his lecture to the RAeS Derby Branch in July 2017.
Mark noted that – poetically - a previous President gave a Sir Henry Royce Lecture the year he joined the company; the year that the Gulfstream IV with Rolls-Royce engines was publicly announced. This proved to be a very significant product line for the company, with production of its final G450 variant only this year.
Mark provided a brief introduction to Gulfstream, which has been in the Business Aviation industry since 1958 with the Rolls-Royce-Dart powered GI. This close relationship with Rolls-Royce has gone from strength to strength, continuing up to the G650ER powered by the Rolls-Royce BR725, and over 2000 Rolls-Royce powered Gulfstream aircraft delivered. 2600 Gulfstream aircraft are currently in service, with four types in production and two further in development. The fleet is growing at 4% a year. The company employs 15,000 people and has 64% of its market in the US and 12% in Asia.
Gulfstream prides itself on its customer service and differentiates itself in the market by having both the finest aircraft and an excellent customer service; or, as Mark Burns described it: “standing behind each of them as long as customers own it”. It tries to live by the expression, consider it done – fast.
One of the proudest achievements of Gulfstream is that the latest Gulfstream G650ER can fly 7500 nautical miles at 0.85 Mach Number which could take you from London to Jakarta or to as far as Singapore at 0.9 Mach Number. Mark was proud of this aircraft winning the 2014 Collier Trophy, and ultimately receiving 200 firm orders after it was announced.
Mark also spent some time talking about the G500 and G600 family, which has proceeded successfully through flight test and will be available in 2018.
Mark mentioned Gulfstream is keen to innovate, having introduced improved Head-Up Displays (HUD), enhanced vision and side sticks on the G500 and G600.
During a lively Q&A session there were a variety of exchanges and questions, some of which looked towards the future, including the concept of Supersonic business jets (SSBJs). Mark discussed the various challenges of such a concept, including the cabin environment.
In summary this was a highly informative, engaging, and inspiring lecture from a long-standing Rolls-Royce customer and partner. Mark Burns was made a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society at the conclusion of the lecture, and the event concluded with a formal dinner for invited guests.