On the Line with Gulfstream--Part Two

On the Line with Gulfstream--Part Two
A Gulfstream jet is a workplace, and a home.
A Gulfstream jet is a workplace, and a home.

When you're paying millions of dollars for a jet, you want reliability, safety and comfort. Gulfstream Aerospace provides all three and much more. The company says customer service is its middle name. WTOC went on the line at Gulfstream, where quality and craftsmanship take center stage.

The process of building a Gulfstream business jet, from the first panel to the first flight, takes about 75 days. But that's only the start of the building process. You need to finish the inside, which can take longer than getting the jet ready to fly. A Gulfstream jet is a workplace and a home. Large corporations, private owners and over 30 world governments and leaders--including the President of the United States--use and depend on Gulfstream jets.

Bill Boisture, the company's president, told us, "About 65 percent of our business each year comes from people who have bought from us before."

The high-tech world of aviation gets a hands-on approach when it comes to comfort and style. Each piece of furniture is built by hand. Each piece has to meet special flight requirements. To cut down on the weight, some of the furniture is made from honeycombed fiberglass and aluminum, meaning parts of material are missing, but the honeycomb design keeps the strength of the piece.

"Everything we have is custom made and really driven by what the customer wants," said Gulfstream's Jon Stanford.

From furniture to fabric, whatever the customer wants, the customer gets. With the inside looking perfect, the green primer on the outside is painted over, and the jet now has a custom paint job.

Once the customer takes their plane, Gulfstream's service doesn't end there. After flying so many hours, every plane must get inspected, and the company's service center rolls out the red carpet welcoming back owners when they bring their planes in for routine service. And if you want things changed inside your jet, the sky's the limit.

"If you want to take the aircraft out, make it purple and blue, we can do that," said the company's Billy Hixon. "Add a DVD, Sony PlayStation, we can do it."

The gulfstream jet has a 99.7 percent reliability rating. But if your plane would ever break down, Gulfstream would dispatch its airborne product support airplane. It takes parts and technicians to Gulfstream customers, creating a faster way to get them get back in the air.

Anytime, anywhere, Gulfstream is there for its customers.

Reported by: Mike Cihla, mcihla@wtoc.com