G650 Test Fleet Has Completed Aircraft-Level Testing
FAA pilots have completed all the scheduled flying required for the certification program for Gulfstream’s Gulfstream G650. In addition, the European Aviation Safety Agency test team finished the flight testing required for its validation of the FAA’s type certification.
The G650 received a provisional type certificate from the FAA on Nov. 18, 2011, and is in the process of completing the final certification tests with the FAA to support entry-into-service later this year. As of July, the test fleet had flown more than 3,800 hours during more than 1,160 flights. The final certification tests included completing the field performance tests, evaluating the aircraft’s performance in natural icing conditions and conducting function and reliability testing.
“These aircraft are accumulating considerable flight time and are returning with minimum aircraft issues,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “The maturity of this program gives us the assurance that the aircraft we deliver to our customers will be of the highest quality standards expected from a Gulfstream.”
The aircraft already has set two city-pair speed records. It flew from Burbank, Calif., to Savannah in just 3 hours and 26 minutes. The aircraft accomplished this at speeds between Mach 0.91 and 0.92, with a brief segment at the aircraft’s maximum operating Mach number of 0.925. Its average ground speed was more than 550 knots. Its maximum ground speed en route was more than 660 knots.
The second city-pair record came when the aircraft made its first trans-Atlantic crossing, flying from Washington, D.C., to Geneva at speeds from Mach 0.90 to Mach 0.92. The aircraft made the journey in 6 hours and 55 minutes.
In addition, the G280 aircraft is closing in on entry-into-service (EIS). As of July 31, the three aircraft used during the flight-test program have flown more than 2,000 hours over more than 740 flights. The fatigue test article has completed more than 17,000 of 40,000 cycles. The G280 received provisional type certificates from the FAA on March 1, 2012, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel on Dec. 29, 2011. The aircraft is slated to enter service later this year after the final type certification requirements have been achieved.
A number of activities are under way to prepare the aircraft and its operators for EIS.
The FAA Flight Operations Evaluation Board has completed its work on establishing the aircraft’s master minimum equipment list (MMEL), an inventory of systems, instruments and equipment considered essential for safe flight. The European Aviation Safety Agency is in the final stages of approving the G280 MMEL for use by European operators as well.
Gulfstream training partner FlightSafety International has developed and built a state-of-the-art, full-motion simulator to train flight crews in the new G280. The simulator is fully equipped and includes the optional intercontinental flight package.
The simulator, which was manufactured in Tulsa, OK, is now on location at the Dallas FlightSafety Learning Center. It has received interim Level C qualification, with Level D qualification expected after the G280 receives its type certification.
Serial Number (S/N) 2004 has received an FAA Special Airworthiness Certificate, allowing Gulfstream to use the aircraft for marketing demonstration and surveys. The aircraft has a fully outfitted interior and has already set four city-pair speed records with passengers on-board:
- Dallas to Washington, D.C.: 502.25 mph
- Washington, D.C., to Geneva: 525.59 mph
- Paris to New York: 469.95 mph
- New York to Dallas: 489.52 mph
Gulfstream confirmed in October 2011 that the G280 exceeded the major performance capabilities announced at the program’s public launch in 2008. Following extensive flight testing, Gulfstream demonstrated that the G280 flies 3,600 nm with four passengers at Mach 0.80 with NBAA IFR reserves.