Gulfstream III
Gulfstream III on approach
Role Business jet
Manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace
First flight 2 December 1979[1]
Introduction 1980
Primary users United States
Produced 1979–1986
Number built 202
Developed from Grumman Gulfstream II
Developed into Gulfstream IV/G400/G450

The Gulfstream III, a business jet produced by Gulfstream Aerospace, is an improved variant of the Grumman Gulfstream II.

Design and development

The Gulfstream III was built at Savannah, Georgia, in the United States and was designed as an improved variant of the Grumman Gulfstream II. Design studies were performed by Grumman Aerospace Corporation in collaboration with Gulfstream American Corporation. Design of the Gulfstream III started with an effort to synthesize a completely new wing employing NASA supercritical airfoil sections and winglets. Optimization studies considering weight, drag, fuel volume, cost, and performance indicated that a substantial portion of the new wing benefit could be secured with modifications to the existing wing. As a result, the new wing concept was canceled and work began on design modifications that would retain the Gulfstream II wing box structure and trailing edge surfaces.[2]

Compared to the G-1159 Gulfstream II, the wing has 6 ft (1.8 m) more span and 5 ft (1.5 m) winglets added, the leading edge is longer and its contour is modified. The fuselage is 2 ft (0.6 m) longer aft of the main door, the radome is extended and there is a new curved windshield. Maximum takeoff weight is increased to 68,200 lb (30,935 kg) or 69,700 lb (31,615 kg) and there are various changes to the autopilot, flight instruments, and engine instruments. The aircraft received its type certificate from the American Federal Aviation Administration on 22 September 1980.[3] A total of 202 Gulfstream IIIs were built, with the last example built in 1986.[4]

In 2013, the FAA modified 14 CFR part 91 rules to prohibit the operation of jets weighing 75,000 pounds or less that are not stage 3 noise compliant after December 31, 2015. The Gulfstream III is listed explicitly in Federal Register 78 FR 39576. Any Gulfstream IIIs that have not been modified by installing Stage 3 noise compliant engines or have not had "hushkits" installed for non-compliant engines will not be permitted to fly in the contiguous 48 states after December 31, 2015. 14 CFR §91.883 Special flight authorizations for jet airplanes weighing 75,000 pounds or less – lists special flight authorizations that may be granted for operation after December 31, 2015.

By 2018, prices for a used 1982 Gulfstream III started at $695,000.[5]


Civil variants

Gulfstream III in 1981

Military variants

NOTE: United States Army C-20F and C-20J, United States Navy/United States Marine Corps C-20G, and United States Air Force C-20H aircraft are all Gulfstream IV variants

Special mission variants

A NASA Gulfstream C-20A (83-0502 cn 389) has been fitted with a centerline pylon to allow it to carry the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) pod.[10]

A NASA Gulfstream III (N992NA cn 309) has also been fitted with a centerline pylon to allow it to carry the Airborne Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface (AirMOSS) pod, a modification of the UAVSAR pod.[11]

The Phoenix Air Group operates two former Royal Danish Air Force SMA-3 aircraft (N173PA cn 313, N163PA cn 249) and a Gulfstream III (N186PA cn 317).[12] One aircraft provides airborne maritime range surveillance for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and other Department of Defense range facilities using a high definition Texas Instruments APS-127 Surface Search Radar system.[13] All three are configured with a large cargo door. In 2008 Phoenix Air developed an Airborne Biomedical Containment System with the CDC. In 2014, the system was deployed during the Ebola virus epidemic in Liberia to fly 12 ebola missions to the United States.[14]

N30LX (cn 438) has been modified by the addition of a ventral canoe and sensor turret as the "Dragon Star" Airborne Multi-Intelligence Laboratory for use by Lockheed Martin.[15] This has been leased by Italy since 2012.[16]

Calspan operates N710CF (cn 448), which has been modified as an airborne test bed. Modifications include a centerline pylon[17] and a dorsal satcom radome[18]

Two Gulfstream IIIs, K2961 (cn 494) and K2962 (cn 495), equipped with long-range oblique photography cameras mounted in the fuselage, were delivered to the Indian Air Force.[19][20]


Military and government operators

Cockpit of a C-20A

Military and government operators of the Gulfstream III and C-20 include:

 Ivory Coast
NASA's Gulfstream landing at Edwards Air Force Base
 Saudi Arabia
 United States

Accidents and incidents

Specifications (Gulfstream III)

Data from Jane's Civil and Military Aircraft Upgrades 1994–95[4]

General characteristics


See also

Related development

Related lists



  1. ^ Taylor 1982, pp. 383–384.
  2. ^ Boppe, Charles W., "Computational Aerodynamic Design: X-29, the Gulfstream Series and a Tactical Fighter", SAE paper 851789, 1985 Wright Brothers Award Paper, presented at the Aerospace Technology Conference & Exposition, Long Beach California, October 1985.
  3. ^ "Type Certificate date Sheet NO. A12EA, revision 46" (PDF). FAA. February 22, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Michell 1994, p. 313.
  5. ^ Mark Huber (December 2018). "For many models, market hitting the apex" (PDF). Aviation International News. pp. 20–21, 24.
  6. ^ a b c d e Model Designation of Military Aerospace Vehicles, DoD 4120.15L, 2004-05-12
  7. ^ "Factsheets : C-20". Archived from the original on May 29, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  8. ^ "C-20A EC02-0221-6: Bob Meyer (right), acting deputy director of NASA Dryden, shakes hands with Les Bordelon, executive director of Edwards Air Force Base. The handshake represents Dryden's acceptance of an Air Force C-20A delivered from Ramstein Air Base, Germany". December 3, 2002. Archived from the original on December 3, 2002.
  9. ^ The United States Military Aviation Directory, AIRTime Publishing, Norwalk, CT, c2000, ISBN 978-1-880588-29-1
  10. ^ G-III UAVSAR Archived 2011-09-15 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  11. ^ UAVSAR Installed on JSC G-III for AirMOSS Study Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  12. ^ Full Details of Active Gulfstream IIIs Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  13. ^ 'Military Ops Range Clearing' Archived 2012-04-22 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  14. ^ Thomas A Horne (January 2015). "Mike Ott The Inside Story of a Ebola Evacuation Mission". AOPA Pilot: T-14.
  15. ^ ;Enter The Dragon Archived April 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  16. ^ Kington, Tom (July 11, 2015). "Italy Renews Lease on SIGINT Aircraft". TEGNA. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  17. ^ Flight testing Archived February 24, 2017, at the Wayback Machine N710CF with Centerline Pylon Capable of Carrying External Stores] Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  18. ^ sensors airborne services-test-beds/ Archived 2015-12-22 at the Wayback Machine N710CF with Common Systems Radome on upper fuselage for SATCOM antenna testing] Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  19. ^ Picture of the Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A Gulfstream III aircraft Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  20. ^ Picture of the Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A Gulfstream III aircraft Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  21. ^ Schrøder, Hans (1991). "Royal Danish Airforce". Ed. Kay S. Nielsen. Tøjhusmuseet, 1991, p. 1–64. ISBN 87-89022-24-6.
  22. ^ "Italian Air Force Aircraft Types". Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  23. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, p. 225
  24. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, pp. 210, 235–236
  25. ^ "Mindeord Admiral Hans Jørgen Garde, K 1, Fr.IX MM, HTS, p.p. (22. januar 1939 - 3. august 1996)". July 19, 2011. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011.
  26. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A Gulfstream III F-330 Faroe Islands-Vagar Airport (FAE)".
  27. ^ "Gulfstream III, N303GA - Aircraft Accident Brief" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  28. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  29. ^ "Hallados dos cadáveres y restos del avión siniestrado en Nueva Esparta - El Carabobeño". July 5, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  30. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A Gulfstream III YV2896 Macanao".
  31. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved April 16, 2019.