Gulfstream G650 Jet Passes Initial Flight Tests





Gulfstream G650 Jet Passes Initial Flight Tests 

By Mike Mitchell  (see Gulfstream G650 Makes First Successful Flight)
Gulfstream G650

December 5, 2009 — Gulfstream Aerospace, announced that the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 has successfully completed its first series of flight tests. During a 1-hour and 45-minute flight, G650 project pilot Jake Howard and senior experimental test pilot Tom Horne, along with flight engineer Bill Osborne, tested the aircraft’s handling qualities, engine operability and flap operation. 

Additionally, the crew evaluated the aircraft’s pitot static systems, avionics, hydraulic systems, electrical power generation and distribution, flight controls, and cabin environmental and pressurization controls.


The evaluations were performed at intended airspeeds of up to 240 knots and desired altitudes of up to 9,500 feet. Throughout the flight, personnel from Gulfstream flight test, engineering and flight operations monitored key, real-time data using a new telemetry system configured to downlink more than 2,000 different parameters.

“The pilots’ reports indicate that the G650’s flying qualities were outstanding,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream.  “With its cutting-edge technology, the aircraft performed superbly, as we expected it would. We are very excited to continue our flight-test program and look forward to certification in 2011.” The G650 flight-test and certification plan involves five aircraft and more than 1,800 hours of testing. Gulfstream is working toward concurrent certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency in 2011.  

Gulfstream announced the G650 program on March 13, 2008. On Sept. 29, 2009, the aircraft rolled out under its own power in front of a crowd of more than 7,000 people. It completed its first flight on Nov. 25, 2009, and remains on schedule for entry-into-service in 2012. 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.   

The G650 will fly at cruise speeds of Mach 0.85 to 0.90, with maximum speed of Mach 0.925 and will have a range of up to 7,000 nmi (13,000 km). It will be equipped with a full kitchen and bar and may be equipped with a variety of entertainment features including satellite phones and wireless Internet. The new jet will use the new Rolls-Royce BR725 engine producing a maximum thrust of 17,000 pounds-force (75.6 kN). Gulfstream states that with a weight of less than 100,000 pounds (45,360 kg), it will be able to land at small airports avoiding the busy airports around the world.  


To provide better usage of the internal volume, Gulfstream designers rejected the usual circular fuselage cross-section in favor of an oval with uses a flatter lower portion. The cabin is to be 8 feet 6 inches wide and 6 feet 5 inches high. The fuselage is of metal construction and Composite construction is used for empennage, winglets, rear pressure bulkhead, engine cowlings, cabin floor structure and many fairings. The sixteen oval cabin windows are 28 inches (71 cm) wide. The wing uses greater sweep (36 degrees) than previous Gulfstream products (for example, the G550 wing has 27 degrees of sweep). It does not use leading-edge high-lift devices, and tracks for rear-mounted flaps are completely enclosed within the airfoil contour. The wing's leading edge is a continuously-changing curve, and the airfoil varies continuously from root to tip (the tip incorporates winglets). 

The aircraft controls will be completely fly-by-wire, with no mechanical control between pilot and flight surfaces. The surfaces will be moved by a dual hydraulic system. More airliners today are using fly-by-wire, but only one current business jet (Falcon 7X) is so equipped. First flight of the prototype was planned for the second half of 2009. Joint certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency is being pursued and expected to be completed during 2011. Customer deliveries are expected to begin in 2012. 

The wing design was completed in 2006. Models have been wind-tunnel tested, with a total of 1,400 hrs of testing planned before the end of 2008. A pressure-test fuselage has been built and tested, including an ultimate-pressure test of 18.37 psi. The G650 taxied under its own power for the first time on September 26, 2009. A public rollout ceremony was later held on September 29, 2009. First flight for the G650 occurred on November 25, 2009. 

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