It's that time of year: Gulfstream Aerospace earlier this month announced the first flight of its G150, a mid-sized, wide-cabin offering designed and built in collaboration with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) in Tel Aviv, Israel. Flown by IAI chief test pilot Ronen Shapira and G150 project test pilot Yoram Geva, the G150 took off from Ben Gurion International Airport for a 04:13 flight. Initial checks included all aircraft systems and handling characteristics as well as the landing gear and flap/slat system. The airplane was flown to FL200 and achieved a maximum speed of 250 knots. Chief Test Pilot Shapira commented that the flight went very smoothly with no issues noted. The G150 has exceeded our expectations. Based on the pilots initial reports, the G150s flying qualities were outstanding and all systems were fully operational, said Pres Henne, senior vice president, programs, engineering and test, Gulfstream. The G150 was rolled out of the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) manufacturing facility in Tel Aviv in January. It remains on schedule for type certification by the Israel Civil Aviation Authority in the first quarter of next year, followed shortly thereafter by validation from the FAA, and entry into service in the third quarter of 2006. The G150 is powered by two Honeywell TFE731-40AR engines and can accommodate six to eight passengers in a choice of several cabin configurations.