Three Aircraft Moving To Final-Phase Manufacturing
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.’s ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range G650 has moved several steps closer to its anticipated certification later this year after completing tests of its fly-by-wire system, engine inlet compatibility and operation in hot weather, among other tests.
As of Oct. 5, the four aircraft in the flight-test program had accumulated more than 2,077 hours on more than 626 flights.
“On Sept. 15, we had five G650 aircraft in the air at once,” said Pres Henne, senior vice
president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “Four of the aircraft were conducting flight-test activities, while the fifth aircraft completed a post-production test flight. The level of flight activity speaks to the maturity of the product at this point in the flight-test program. We are moving at a prudent pace toward our certification objective later this year. We are pleased by everything we see.”
Gulfstream has now flown four production aircraft in preparation for induction into final-phase manufacturing, where the aircraft are outfitted and painted. Fourteen aircraft are in the production process.
On the flight-test side, Aircraft Number 6005 completed certification ground tests for engine inlet compatibility, conducted for the first time by Gulfstream at the Eglin Air Force Base test facility in Florida. The aircraft utilized Eglin’s fan array to accurately provide the high-wind ground testing. Additionally, the aircraft completed certification ground tests for electromagnetic interference. Following ground testing, the aircraft successfully completed in-flight certification testing in both areas: engine inlet compatibility and electromagnetic interference.
Aircraft Number 6004, the first Gulfstream test aircraft to have a fully outfitted interior, has conducted in-flight tests on the functionality of the G650’s next-generation flight management system, a fundamental part of the avionics, as well as completing extensive cabin system tests and interior acoustic noise surveys.
The company completed the Federal Aviation Administration certification tests for hot-weather operations using Aircraft Number 6003, thereby demonstrating the capability to properly cool all of the avionics and electrical equipment under the most extreme conditions.
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 (12,964 km) at Mach 0.85 and has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925.
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.