Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. recently expanded its award-winning Product Support organization with the opening of a state-of-the-art In-Flight Support Center. The tools available in the center will help Gulfstream’s Technical Operations department troubleshoot in-flight situations faster. This department runs a call center, with more than 40 technical/system specialists available to support customers.
The call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and features three flight-deck simulators as the centerpiece of the In-Flight Support Center. A specialist can induce faults into the simulator to mirror what is happening in flight.
“Our 3,300 employees and our facilities are the cornerstones of our organization,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream Product Support. “We continue to look for ways to enhance the support we offer Gulfstream operators. This In-Flight Support Center allows us to assist operators more quickly and efficiently than ever before.”
The three cubical-sized simulators in the In-Flight Support Center feature 10 to 12 LCD touch-screen monitors with displays of the aircraft’s cockpit, instrument panel and pedestal. Using a computer and Windows-based software, the graphic simulators offer the tactile experience of a much larger full-motion simulator, including warning indicator sounds and flight displays that change as inputs are made.
These are particularly valuable when it comes to in-flight procedural questions. Rather than pilots reading what they see on the central maintenance computer (CMC) screen and a Technical Operations staffer prompting them to make specific selections in order to troubleshoot, the pilot and Technical Operations staffer can make the same selections.
“We can replicate or closely recreate what the pilot sees and experiences for virtually every aircraft system,” said David Snively, manager, Technical Operations. “We don’t have to rely on memory of the CMC menus. This can result in much faster troubleshooting time.”
The simulators provide other benefits to Technical Operations, including helping guide CMC improvements and serving as a resource for flight-deck familiarization. Currently, Gulfstream has one graphic simulator for large-cabin PlaneView-equipped aircraft, to support the G450/G550/G650, one for classic aircraft, to support the GIV/GV, and one for mid-cabin aircraft, to support the G100/G150/G200.
In addition to the simulators, the center also features a projector, a 9 1/2-foot projection screen, and two 46-inch high-definition monitors equipped with fleet-tracking software.
“The technology available in this support center takes our Technical Operations capabilities to the next level,” Burns said. “The large monitors complement the simulators, enabling us to track customer location and therefore respond as quickly as possible to customer needs, whether the aircraft is in flight or on the ground.”
The 600-square-foot In-Flight Support Center is located on the third floor of the nearly 700,000-square-foot Gulfstream Savannah Service Center, the world’s largest and most technically advanced maintenance facility built specifically for business jets.
Gulfstream maintains the largest company-owned product support network in business aviation. The network is strategically located around the world to ensure Gulfstream operators have access to technical assistance, spare parts, and service capabilities. It includes nine company-owned service centers; 20 authorized warranty repair/line service facilities: $1.2 billion in spare parts positioned for rapid aircraft-on-ground (AOG) response, more than 40 field service representatives and a dedicated aircraft/staff for AOG response.
The simulators are manufactured by FlightSafety International at its Broken Arrow, Okla., facility.