Gulfstream G650 Moves Closer To 2012 Entry Into Service


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Gulfstream G650 Moves Closer To 2012 Entry Into Service

By Mike Mitchell

October 11, 2011 - Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.’s ultra large cabin, ultra long range G650 has moved several steps closer to its anticipated certification later this year after completing tests of its fly by wire system, engine inlet compatibility and operation in hot weather, among other tests. As of Oct. 5, the four aircraft in the flight-test program had accumulated more than 2,077 hours on more than 626 flights.  

“On Sept. 15, we had five G650 aircraft in the air at once,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “Four of the aircraft were conducting flight-test activities, while the fifth aircraft completed a post-production test flight.  

“The level of flight activity speaks to the maturity of the product at this point in the flight-test program. We are moving at a prudent pace toward our certification objective later this year. We are pleased by everything we see.”

Gulfstream has now flown four production aircraft in preparation for induction into final-phase manufacturing, where the aircraft are outfitted and painted. Fourteen aircraft are in the production process. On the flight-test side, Aircraft Number 6005 completed certification ground tests for engine inlet compatibility, conducted for the first time by Gulfstream at the Eglin Air Force Base test facility in Florida. The aircraft utilized Eglin’s fan array to accurately provide the high-wind ground testing.  

Additionally, the aircraft completed certification ground tests for electromagnetic interference. Following ground testing, the aircraft successfully completed in-flight certification testing in both areas: engine inlet compatibility and electromagnetic interference.Aircraft Number 6004, the first Gulfstream test aircraft to have a fully outfitted interior, has conducted in-flight tests on the functionality of the G650’s next-generation flight management system, a fundamental part of the avionics, as well as completing extensive cabin system tests and interior acoustic noise surveys. 

The company completed the Federal Aviation Administration certification tests for hot-weather operations using Aircraft Number 6003, thereby demonstrating the capability to properly cool all of the avionics and electrical equipment under the most extreme conditions. 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 (12,964 km) at Mach 0.85 and has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925.


GE Aviation was recently awarded two contracts from Gulfstream to provide the Integrated Vehicle Health Management technology and service for the G650 business jet aircraft. “This is one of the first comprehensive health management systems for a civil airplane and a first for business jets,” said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems. “We are thrilled to be launching this new product and service with Gulfstream. Gulfstream is a leader in the business jet market by introducing new technology, innovation and best-in-class product support. The IVHM technology will clearly be a differentiator for the G650 in the marketplace.”  

GE’s Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) technology will power Gulfstream’s PlaneConnectHTM Health & Trend Monitoring system. The system continuously manages and analyzes data throughout the flight creating a comprehensive set of health information for the engines, avionics, power, cabin and other aircraft systems.  

Wireless connectivity links every aircraft to a Ground Services Network (GSN) providing a web-based service that delivers a real time picture of aircraft health for Gulfstream and the operator to access 24/7 from anywhere in the world. The system is seamlessly integrated with Gulfstream’s product support to enable unprecedented capability to enhance dispatch reliability and availability – a hallmark of Gulfstream’s customer service orientation.  

The IVHM technology dates back to 1991 when GE developed the world’s first certified Health and Usage Monitoring System, HUMS, for helicopters. GE has recorded and analyzed in excess of 2 million flight hours of data from more than 500 military and commercial helicopters.
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.

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