Gulfstream G650 Completes Initial Flight Tests

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A quick first flight for the G650 the day before Thanksgiving was terminated after 12 minutes to check out a vibrating gear door, but now Gulfstream has relaunched its biggest ship for a thorough wringing-out by the test crew. The company said last week the jet now has flown for an hour and 45 minutes, at speeds up to 240 knots and altitudes up to 9,500 feet. The crew checked handling qualities, pitot-static systems, avionics, hydraulic systems, electrical power generation and distribution, flight controls, and cabin environmental and pressurization controls. "The pilots' reports indicate that the G650's flying qualities were outstanding," said Pres Henne, senior vice president of programs, engineering and test at Gulfstream. The jet is on target for certification in 2011, he said, by both FAA and EASA, with entry into service in 2012.

Throughout the flight, Gulfstream technicians on the ground monitored real-time data using a new telemetry system configured to downlink more than 2,000 different parameters, the company said. The complete G650 flight-test and certification plan will involve five aircraft and more than 1,800 hours of testing. The airplane will be capable of a 7,000-nm range at 0.85 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.925 Mach. Click here for a video of the first flight.