The Gulfstream 1 was a pioneer when it flew onto the scene in the late 1950s, combining turboprop efficiency and flexibility with a comfortable cabin. It was designed for the emerging modern business aviation industry, offering executives a better way to cover distances, as well as shaping the evolution of executive air travel for future generations. Introducing Grumman Gulfstream 1 PlaneTags.
The G-159 Gulfstream I is a twin-engine turboprop that was designed and manufactured by Grumman Aircraft (now Gulfstream Aerospace) from 1959 to 1969. It marked the company's entry into the business aviation market and laid the foundation for the successful Gulfstream series of business jets.
The G-159’s streamlined fuselage and wing design was designed with a focus on aerodynamics, enhancing its performance and fuel efficiency, especially compared to other turboprop aircraft of the time. Equipped with two Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines, the twin-engine configuration not only provided redundancy for safety but also contributed to better performance and fuel efficiency as well. Its low-wing configuration allowed for a more spacious cabin and easier boarding through an airstair at the front of the cabin.
Thanks to its turboprop engines, the Gulfstream I could operate from shorter runways, making it more versatile in terms of airport selection, allowing access to smaller airports that might not be suitable for larger jets. Its turboprop engines also provided better fuel efficiency at lower speeds compared to jet engines, translating to lower operating costs and more competitive operating economics, which appealed to corporate and private operators. Similarly, it was capable of covering significant distances without the need for refueling stops, making it particularly suitable for regional and continental travel.
Overall, the Grumman G-159 Gulfstream I was designed to combine the benefits of turboprop engines, operational flexibility, and a comfortable cabin environment. Its success in the business aviation market paved the way for subsequent Gulfstream models that would incorporate more advanced technology and even greater levels of luxury and performance.
The Gulfstream I was designed to provide a comfortable and pleasant flight, with a spacious, pressurized and soundproofed cabin. Depending on its configuration, it could seat up to 24 passengers, but typically 10 to 12, or 8 in an executive layout. Other amenities included a lavatory, flexible seating options, entertainment systems, fold out tables, refreshment areas - anything you might find in an executive suite or lounge.
The design and development of the Grumman Gulfstream 1 began in the mid-1950’s, after Grumman Aircraft recognized a growing demand for an efficient, yet comfortable executive aircraft to serve the business aviation market. The design team aimed to develop an airplane that offered the range and performance needed for regional business travel, as well as the comfort and amenities required by executive business travelers.
Gulfstream 1 Inaugural Flight, photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman History Center Archives
The Gulfstream I made its maiden flight on August 14, 1958. Following successful flight testing and refinements, the aircraft entered production in 1959. The first production Gulfstream I was delivered in May 1959, and 200 total were built within the next 11 years.
The Grumman G-159 Gulfstream I's design and development process exemplified the company's transition from military aircraft production to the business aviation market. The aircraft's combination of turboprop efficiency, operational flexibility, and luxurious cabin set the stage for its success in the corporate and private aviation sectors. Over time, this success would lead to the evolution of the Gulfstream brand and the development of subsequent aircraft models.
Gulfstream Aerospace G-IV-X Gulfstream G450 N723MM (cn 357) flickr photo by TDelCoro shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license
Today, Gulfstream aircraft are now built by Gulfstream Aerospace in their Savannah, GA manufacturing plant. Take a look at the aircraft in the modern Gulfstream fleet:
The First Gulfstreams. Grumman G159 Gulfstream 1 N708G (msn 8) dates from 1959. Photo by Fergus Abraham, November 5, 1981. Used with permission.
N708G, a G-159, took its first flight on July 21, 1959 and was delivered to its sole operator Conoco in September 1959. Conoco (which merged with Phillips Petroleum to become ConocoPhillips in 1999) went through many changes throughout the years N708G flew with the company. Facing impacts of global energy challenges such as the oil crisis in the 1970s, and fluctuating markets due to regulatory changes and geopolitical events, the company evolved into a leader in the global technology sector. After operating exclusively for Conoco for over 25 years, N708G was retired in 1985. It remained in storage until MotoArt acquired it from ConocoPhillips in 2021 to create custom aviation furniture and G 1 PlaneTags.
“We were so honored to make a custom conference table for ConocoPhillips, using parts from N708G,” says MotoArt owner, Dave Hall. “Now we get to celebrate and remember this aircraft through PlaneTags.”
The Gulfstream 1 PlaneTags came out of a custom conference table order from ConocoPhillips. They provided the fuselage of N708G to create a three window table.
The table was created by the MotoArt team, who spent many hours mirror polishing and breathing new life into the 60+ year old weathered fuselage. The result was a stunning conference table, made even more meaningful by its history with the company. Over the years, MotoArt has also offered custom aviation furniture and conference tables made from the Grumman Albatross and the Gulfstream 2, among many other aircraft.
The Grumman G-159 Gulfstream 1 PlaneTags will be released on Thursday, August 31, 2023 at 12pm PST. They are numbered in a series of 3,250. Initially they will be available in the following colors:
Over the years MotoArt has introduced the following Grumman aircraft PlaneTags.
The 2nd Annual PlaneTags Festival in 2022 included Grumman G-159 Gulfstream 1 PlaneTags for attendees. They were made from NASA’s N4NA and were not sold in the shop. Did you get your tickets to the 3rd Annual PlaneTags Festival yet? Seats are limited so don’t miss getting your exclusive PlaneTags at Tagfest.