Simulated Gulfstream G650 Makes First Flight
Gulfstream Aerospace yesterday said it reached a milestone in development work on the large-cabin G650 and announced that it achieved first flight of a simulated version of the jet on December 15 at the G650 Integration Test Facility (ITF) in Savannah, Ga. The ITF includes a full-scale G650 cockpit equipped with avionics, some production hardware and sensors as well as a full-scale cabin mockup with galley. The nose section is the first to be built in the new G650 manufacturing facility in Savannah. Gulfstream test pilots and engineers will use the ITF to test all aircraft systems before the actual first flight, which is scheduled for the second half of this year. More than 800 employees are directly involved in the G650 program, in design, development, manufacturing and testing roles, according to Gulfstream. The G650 will fly 7,000 nm at Mach 0.85 and top out at Mach 0.925, a few knots swifter than the current fastest civil airplane, Cessna’s Citation X. FAA and EASA certification is expected in 2011, followed by entry-into-service in 2012.