Gulfstream G250 Makes Its First Flight

 - December 11, 2009, 9:51 AM

Gulfstream Aerospace and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) flew the G250 super-midsize business jet for the first time today, fulfilling a promise made earlier this year to fly the airplane before the end of 2009. The milestone completes Gulfstream’s goal to fly both its completely new G650 ultra-long-range jet and the G250, which is a derivative of the G200 (the former IAI Galaxy), before year-end. The G650 made its first flight on November 25.

While the G650’s first flight lasted only 12 minutes (cut short by concerns about vibrations in the gear doors), the G250 flew for three hours and 21 minutes, according to Gulfstream. The G650 made its second flight on December 4, with a flight of one hour and 45 minutes.

IAI chief test pilot Ronen Shapira commanded the G250’s first flight, which took off at 8:16 a.m. local time (0616 UTC) from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, where IAI is based. During the flight, the pilots performed initial checks of several systems, tested handling qualities and took the airplane to 253 knots and 32,000 feet. Systems checked, according to a Gulfstream spokesperson, included the autopilot, autothrottle, flap retraction and extension, landing-gear retraction and extension, pressurization and environmental control. Shapira said the flight was “extremely smooth with no issues.” Three aircraft will log about 1,300 hours in the planned flight-test program.

Performance objectives for the G250, powered by two Honeywell HTF7250Gs each rated at 7,445 pounds thrust, include Mach 0.85 Mmo, maximum altitude of 45,000 feet and 3,400-nm NBAA IFR range at Mach 0.80. Its new transonic wing, T tail, Rockwell Collins PlaneView 250 cockpit and two additional cabin windows (19 total) are the main features that set it apart from the G200. The elimination of the G200’s aft-fuselage fuel tank increases the usable volume of the cabin and provides in-flight access to the baggage compartment. The airplane’s base price is $24 million (2008).

Said Itzhak Nissan, president and CEO of IAI, “The successful first flight of the G250 represents the achievements of Gulfstream and IAI as the designers, integrators and manufacturers of this advanced business jet. IAI continues to benefit from its world-leading, strategic partnership with Gulfstream.”

The G250 rolled out under its own power on October 6 before some 600 people at IAI’s manufacturing facility on Ben Gurion Airport. According to Gulfstream, the G250 remains on schedule for type certification by Israeli civil aviation authorities by 2011, with FAA validation and entry-into-service the same year. While Gulfstream is not commenting on orders received for the new model, an IAI spokesperson at the rollout said that eight or nine had been sold.