Fifth Aircraft Joined The Flight-Test Program On Jan. 24
The fifth and final Gulfstream G650 flight-test aircraft took to
the skies Jan. 24, flying for 2 hours and 46 minutes. All five
aircraft that are part of the flight-test campaign have now entered
G650 S/N 6005
Serial Number (S/N) 6005 launched from the Savannah/Hilton Head
International Airport at 12:07 p.m. local time with experimental
test pilots Bill Dobbs and Al Moros at the controls and flight-test
engineers Heather Burke and Nathaniel Rutland in the cabin. The
aircraft reached a maximum speed of Mach 0.94 and a top altitude of
51,000 feet (15,545 m) before landing at 2:53 p.m. local
The high Mach number was achieved to validate the aircraft's
maximum speed for stability characteristics, a requirement for
receiving a Certificate of Airworthiness from the FAA. Such high
speeds are outside the aircraft's normal flight envelope. The
G650's maximum allowable Mach number is Mach 0.925. Throughout the
flight, the crew evaluated the aircraft's avionics, flight-control
systems and handling qualities.
"This flight represents a significant milestone in the overall
certification program," said Pres Henne, senior vice president,
Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. "We've had four
aircraft flying for some time now, so we've already accomplished a
broad range of tests. In addition, the fatigue test article has
moved to the structural-test hangar, where it will be used to
evaluate the lifelong structural integrity of the aircraft. The
flight-test program is moving along at a brisk pace."
G650 S/N 60001
Before its first flight, S/N 6005 underwent certification ground
tests for lightning and high-intensity radiated fields (HIRF).
Performed at the company's headquarters in Savannah throughout
November and December, the lightning test indicates the airframe
and systems can withstand a severe lightning strike, while HIRF
testing demonstrates the ability of the aircraft's flight-essential
systems to withstand external radio frequencies without
The four other aircraft flying in the test program have also
completed several tests required as part of the G650's
certification by the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
later this year.
S/N 6001, which flew for the first time on Nov. 25, 2009, has
completed the initial flight control system (FCS) certification
test, which covers handling qualities under backup flight-control
mode. This includes handling qualities at low and high speeds, as
well as operations under electric backup. The aircraft also
completed company tests for minimum control speeds in the air and
on the ground. "Minimum control speeds are equal to or better than
predictions," Henne said.
Focused on the engine and the auxiliary power unit, S/N 6002
joined the flight-test program on Feb. 25, 2010. Since then, the
company has completed tests of the aircraft's engines and systems
under negative g-force conditions. Flight-test engineers have also
completed initial field performance tests, including brake-control
optimization and assessing the VMU, or the calibrated airspeed at
which the aircraft can lift off.
G650 S/N 6003
S/N 6003, which made its flying debut in May 2010, is undergoing
development tests for the aircraft's anti-ice system. It's also in
the midst of avionics tests for the latest PlaneView II software.
This includes assessing the aircraft's cockpit displays,
communication, navigation, recorders, terrain awareness and warning
system (TAWS) and enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS).
This aircraft also successfully completed flyover noise
certification tests, conducted jointly with FAA and EASA
S/N 6004, which is the first Gulfstream flight-test aircraft to
include a fully outfitted interior, remains focused on tests of the
cabin systems, including water and waste systems, operations under
extreme cold-soak conditions and Type Inspection Authorization
tests of its communication radios. Additionally, crews have
completed an initial evaluation of cabin temperature control and
performed preliminary cabin noise surveys.
The five G650 aircraft have now surpassed 1,100 hours in their
flight-test program and are on schedule for certification in 2011
and first deliveries in 2012.