Approach categories seem to cause a lot of confusion in the corporate pilot world for some reason. The rules are pretty simple and are linked below. The confusion in the Gulfstream world was caused by magical two-sided plastic placards in the cockpit which pilots used to move at will from one category to another. The FAA ended all that with an emphatic statement that pilots could not do that, in fact only mechanics could do it with log book write ups. (The placards now only have one side, they are either installed or they aren't.)
In the G450, if you have ASC 007C installed, you are a Category C aircraft with a 58,500 lb landing weight limit, otherwise you are Category D with a 66,000 lb landing weight limit. Making the switch is more complicated than many of us in the Gulfstream world once thought.
Here then is a summary of the issue as it relates to the G450 and how to move from one category to another, and from one landing weight limitation to another.
Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.
Photo: from Haskel's jet
|Max Landing Weight||Category|
More on this in the Approach Categories section.
The GV and G550 are almost always Category C aircraft since they circle at VREF+5 with 39° flaps and that speed is almost always below 141 knots. (You would have to be close to max landing weight and well above sea level to exceed 141 knots.)
The answer "it depends" applies to the GIV when it comes to approach categories:
Note: I am almost always in the same situation in my G450, except my minimum additive is 5 knots, not 10 knots.
The G450 is better off since it circles at VREF+5 with 39° flaps and weighs a little less than a GIV, but it still sometimes ends up above 141 knots. ASC 007 reduces the aircraft's maximum landing weight, thereby reducing the aircraft's approach category, as detailed below.
Remember, the pilot can always raise the category. (More on this: Circling Approaches.)
Here is what ASC 007C says on Category C:
Figure: Maximum Landing Weight, from ASC 007.
And about moving back to Category D:
Bottom Line? If you have ASC 007C installed, you are flying a Category C airplane with a 58,500 landing limit. You can change either of those facts thusly:
14 CFR 97, Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, Standard Instrument Procedures, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation
Gulfstream G450 Aircraft Service Change 007C, Maximum Landing Gross Weight, 58,500 pounds, Category C, Provisions, October 26, 2011
Gulfstream G450 Airplane Flight Manual, Revision 35, April 18, 2013
Gulfstream G450 Maintenance Manual, Revision 18, Dec 12, 2013
Gulfstream G450 Operating Manual Supplement, G-450-OMS-02, Extended Operations (ETOPS) Guide, Revision 2, April 2, 2009
Gulfstream G450 Performance Handbook, GAC-AC-G450-OPS-0003, Revision 20, November 30, 2011
Gulfstream G450 Quick Reference Handbook, GAC-AC-G450-OPS-0003, Revision 34, 18 April 2013
Gulfstream G450 Weight and Balance Manual, Revision 3, March 2008
ICAO Doc 8168 - Aircraft Operations - Vol I - Flight Procedures, Procedures for Air Navigation Services, International Civil Aviation Organization, 2006
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