Test Airplane Sets Unconfirmed Speed Record In Atlantic Crossing
Gulfstream's G650 made its first trans-Atlantic crossing on May 12 en route to the 12th European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva. The aircraft flew 3,780 nautical miles (7,000 km) squawk-free and nonstop in just 6 hours and 55 minutes.
“Flying to Geneva in that amount of time surely qualifies as a city-pair record, so we have submitted the flight to the National Aeronautic Association to officially claim it. This is the second record we’ve set with the G650, the world’s fastest civil aircraft. The first was a 1,900-nm sprint from Los Angeles to Savannah that we accomplished in just 3 hours and 26 minutes. On both flights, the airplane flew beautifully,” said Scott Buethe, senior experimental test pilot, Gulfstream.
Buethe flew the aircraft from Washington, D.C., to Geneva, Switzerland, with Ahmed Ragheb and Rick Gowthrop, senior production test pilots, Gulfstream. Additional participants in the flight included David Chalk, flight test engineer. “The aircraft’s first trans-Atlantic crossing represents a milestone in flight test and certification,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “And its squawk-free performance demonstrates that the aircraft is meeting the substantial objectives we – and our customers – set for it.”
Serial Number (S/N) 6020 departed Dulles International Airport at 0656 EDT on May 12, weighing 88,500 pounds, 11,100 pounds below the aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight, and climbed directly to 43,000 feet. The aircraft cruised at Mach 0.90 to Mach 0.92 throughout the flight, landing in Geneva 6 hours and 55 minutes after takeoff. At 43,000 feet cruise altitude, the pressurization system maintained the cabin altitude at a comfortable 3,700 feet.
The G650’s Saturday arrival in Geneva follows that of the super mid-size G280, which traveled the same leg in 7 hours and 47 minutes at Mach 0.80.
The G650 will spend two days in Geneva as part of Gulfstream’s static display for EBACE. It will be joined by the super mid-size G280; the large-cabin, ultra-long-range G550; the large-cabin, long-range G450; and the wide-cabin, high-speed G150. “We’re thrilled to have this aircraft here with us in Europe,” said Scott Neal, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Gulfstream. “It’s an opportunity for operators and customers to see this all-new aircraft up close and side-by-side with the other aircraft in the Gulfstream fleet.”
The G650, which is undergoing flight test and certification for entry-into-service later this year, will leave Geneva after the static display closes on Monday, May 14, to return to Savannah in support of flight test. The airplane received a provisional type certificate from the FAA on Nov. 18, 2011, and is in the process of completing final certification tests with the FAA to support entry-into-service later this year.