First Flights For Gulfstream, Airbus

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Gulfstream G250
Airbus A400
(click the thumbnail for a video)

A few days after the first extended test flight of its G650 large executive jet, Gulfstream flew the super-midsize G250 for the first time. Whereas the first flight of the G650 on Nov. 25 was cut short by a vibrating gear door, the G250 flight went as planned, taking off from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for a flight lasting three hours and 21 minutes. The aircraft is being developed in partnership with Israel Aircraft Industries. "The G250 performed extremely well, just as we expected," Pres Henne, Gulfstream's senior vice president, programs, engineering and test, said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Airbus is celebrating the long-awaited first flight of its A400M heavy lift military transport. The big four-engine turboprop took off from Seville, Spain, for a four-hour flight in which it performed "as expected," according to Airbus. Whether the program itself will take flight is another question. An 18-month development delay and rising costs have prompted Airbus to ask the European Union for more money to keep the project alive.