by B.N. Sullivan
On September 29, 2009, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation ceremoniously rolled out its new flagship aircraft, the G650. Nearly 7,000 invited guests were present at the Gulfstream Aerospace plant in Savannah as the new ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range business jet was officially introduced. Scheduled for delivery to customers in 2012, the twin-engine G650 will be Gulfstream's largest and fastest (and most expensive) aircraft.
“We’ve all been looking forward to this day since we officially announced the G650 program last year,” said Joe Lombardo, executive vice president, General Dynamics Aerospace group. “Simply put, the Gulfstream G650 is in a class by itself. I want to thank everyone who made this aircraft possible. I share the tremendous amount of pride you have for this significant piece of aviation history. Like you, I am eagerly awaiting the first flight later this year.”
According to information provided by Gulfstream, the G650 will offer the longest range, fastest speed, largest cabin and the most advanced cockpit in the Gulfstream fleet. The G650 is capable of traveling 7,000 nautical miles at 0.85 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.925. That near-supersonic speed will make it the fastest civil aircraft flying.
The G650 can climb to an altitude of 51,000 feet, allowing it to avoid traffic and inclement weather. One can only imagine the view from the 'office window' at that altitude!
"The G650 offers unprecedented speed and range, superb takeoff performance, an all-new Gulfstream wing, best-in-class Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, and top-of-the-line aesthetics. It provides the most technologically advanced flight deck in business aviation with the PlaneViewTM II cockpit and an advanced aircraft health and trend monitoring system to support aircraft maintenance planning and improve availability," said Pres Henne, Gulfstream senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test.
Then there is the wider, taller cabin, featuring an all-new fuselage cross section. The G650 cabin measures 102 inches wide and 77 inches high, and is said to be the largest purpose-built cabin in business aviation. The extra space allows for larger galleys and lavatories -- and speaking of lavatories, the G650 has a vacuum toilet system. The larger fuselage also offers increased storage space and in-flight access to 195 cubic feet of usable volume in the baggage compartment.
The aircraft, which seats 11-18 passengers, has 16 panoramic windows that measure 28 by 20.5 inches, the largest in the industry. By the way, I noticed two over-wing emergency exits in a photo of the port side of the aircraft (not shown here).
"Along with traditional measures of aircraft performance, significant effort has been spent in ensuring the cabin will be in a class by itself. The Gulfstream Cabin EssentialTM systems include redundant fiber optic and wireless technologies, along with the latest innovations in lighting, seating, acoustics and cabin systems to provide the most productive cabin environment in business aviation," said Henne.
The first flight of the new G650 is scheduled for later this year and Gulfstream expects the G650 to be certified in 2011. Entry-into-service is planned for 2012.