Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gulfstream's new G650 business jet completes maiden flight

by B.N. Sullivan

Gulfstream Aerospace G650 maiden flightIt was an exciting day in Savannah: The new Gulfstream G650 completed its first flight. The the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650, the newest and fastest business jet produced by Gulfstream Aerospace, took off from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport at 1:41 p.m. local time today, and landed 12 minutes later.

At the controls of the aircraft (N650GA) were Gulfstream experimental test pilot Jake Howard and senior experimental test pilot Tom Horne. Also on board was flight engineer Bill Osborne.

“We are pleased to announce that the G650 successfully completed its first flight today,” Pres Henne said in a statement to the press. Mr. Henne is senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, at Gulfstream.

“Systems were fully operational. The aircraft achieved an altitude of 6,600 feet and a speed of 170 knots. Flight controls and characteristics performed as expected. We consider this flight a success and look forward to pursuing our full flight-test plan,” Henne said.

The crew reported "a slight vibration in a landing-gear door," so they cut the flight short from the original plan as a precautionary measure.

The Gulfstream G650 was formally rolled out of the hangar under its own power for the first time on September 29, 2009. (Here is a link to the video of the G650 rollout.)

According to information provided by Gulfstream:
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.
Its 7,000-nautical-mile range means the G650 can fly nonstop from Dubai to Chicago.
With an initial cruise altitude of 41,000 feet at 0.85 Mach, the G650 can climb to a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet and avoid traffic and inclement weather.

With its all-new aerodynamically optimized wing, the G650 can meet the latest takeoff certification requirements. At maximum takeoff weight, the aircraft can depart from a 6,000-foot runway.
Additionally, notes Gulfstream, the G650 features the PlaneView™ II cockpit, the most advanced flight deck in business aviation, and an Advanced Health and Trend Monitoring System (AHTMS) to support aircraft maintenance planning and enhance availability.

Sounds like quite a cool airplane!

Here is a link to Gulfstream's G650 Web page where you can find several photos of the aircraft, and a video of its first flight.

[Photo Source]