The wide-cabin Gulfstream G650 resumed flight testing on December 4, following the November 25 maiden flight of the first test aircraft (T1). That flight was cut short at 12 minutes due to “slight vibrations” in one of the gear doors. Although the initial flight from Savannah (Ga.) International Airport was expected to last about an hour, Gulfstream called the abbreviated test run a complete success.
Test pilots Jake Howard and Tom Horne were at the controls for the first flight, with flight engineer Bill Osborne in the back. The test aircraft reached 6,600 feet and 170 knots and its “flight controls and characteristics performed as expected,” according to Gulfstream.
After the Thanksgiving break, Gulfstream engineers and technicians investigated the minor problem encountered on the first flight. “We have identified the cause of the vibration in the landing-gear doors and are developing a permanent solution,” a Gulfstream spokes- woman told AIN. “We don’t expect the issue to cause any delays in completing the test plan or achieving certification.”
The second flight, conducted early last month, lasted one hour 45 minutes, during which time the aircraft’s handling qualities, engine operability and flap operation were tested, in addition to its pitot-static systems, avionics, hydraulic systems, electrical power generation and distribution, flight controls and cabin environmental and pressurization controls. According to Gulfstream, the evaluations were performed at airspeeds of up to 240 knots and altitudes of up to 9,500 feet.
Certification is planned for next year with entry into service to follow in 2012.