Gulfstream Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has announced the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 has successfully completed its first series of flight tests.
During a 1-hour and 45-minute flight, G650 project pilot Jake Howard and senior experimental test pilot Tom Horne, along with flight engineer Bill Osborne, tested the aircraft’s handling qualities, engine operability and flap operation.
Additionally, the crew evaluated the aircraft’s pitot-static systems, avionics, hydraulic systems, electrical power generation and distribution, flight controls, and cabin environmental and pressurization controls.
The evaluations were performed at intended airspeeds of up to 240 knots and desired altitudes of up to 9,500 feet. Throughout the flight, personnel from Gulfstream flight test, engineering and flight operations monitored key, real-time data using a new telemetry system configured to downlink more than 2,000 different parameters.
“The pilots’ reports indicate that the G650’s flying qualities were outstanding,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “With its cutting-edge technology, the aircraft performed superbly, as we expected it would. We are very excited to continue our flight-test program and look forward to certification in 2011.”
The G650 flight-test and certification plan involves five aircraft and more than 1,800 hours of testing. Gulfstream is working toward concurrent certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency in 2011.
Gulfstream announced the G650 program on March 13, 2008. On Sept. 29, 2009, the aircraft rolled out under its own power in front of a crowd of more than 7,000 people. It completed its first flight on Nov. 25, 2009, and remains on schedule for entry-into-service in 2012.
The G650 offers the longest range at the fastest speed in its class. Powered by best-in-class Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, the business jet is capable of traveling 7,000 nautical miles at 0.85 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.925 Mach.