On the Line with Gulfstream--Part One - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/25/02

On the Line with Gulfstream--Part One

An employee works on a "greenie." An employee works on a "greenie."

Gulfstream Aerospace is the leader in the sky. The Savannah-based business jet maker is one of the area's largest employers. If you've ever seen a Gulfstream jet up close, you're probably amazed at how they look and what they can do. But before they take flight, they all start with a single rivet, and from there the sky's the limit.

Gulfstream is the leading manufacturer of business jets in the world. Over 4,000 employees design, manufacture and test Gulfstream jets in Savannah.

"We've come over the last 5 years, building only G-4 here in Savannah to now building six different types of airplanes," Bill Boisture, Golfstream's president, told us.

The airplanes are built from scratch. The nose, the fuselage, and the tail are put together by hand. The nose of the plane is a series panels and rivets put together to form the rounded front end. For the fuselage, people work inside and out making sure the middle of the plane is sturdy and large enough for the passengers and cargo. The tail gets top-of-the-line detail from each employee, making sure it's the cutting edge of the industry. Then they are all married together, and the airplane starts taking shape. Rolls Royce engines are put on, so are the windows, and wiring is added inside.

From here. the plane is ready to roll into Hangar 2. The unpainted planes are called greenies. The plane is bare except for balance weights to simulate what things would weigh once the plane is complete. The greenie undergoes a pre-flight test, everything from top to bottom is checked out. Then the plane is wheeled out and taken to the engine-testing area, where all instruments and steering devices are looked at. Once it passes every safety check and receives a certificate of air-worthiness from the FAA, the pilot is ready to take it up on its first flight.

"They trust us with their lives and knowledge of the aircraft," noted Gulfstream worker Milton Weber. "It's a great opportunity to see one of these airplanes fly. The smile from ear to ear and knowing they've got one of the best products ever built."

There really is a certain pride each employee takes in building these airplanes. In fact, Gulfstream's president Bill Boisture says it's the people at the plant that drive their business. They are the ones that make it happen and are the secret behind the success of the company.

Reported by: Mike Cihla, mcihla@wtoc.com

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