Amid rumors that the new Gulfstream G650 already has attracted more than 500 “letters of interest” and that production of the widebody is sold out through 2021, a company spokesman would confirm only that interest in the new airplane has been “overwhelming.”
Meanwhile, suppliers continue to line up for the $58.5 million twinjet, while manufacturing on the first test aircraft, scheduled to fly in the second half of next year, has begun. “The first G650 cockpit was constructed and is being installed and kitted out in our Integrated Test facility,” said a Gulfstream spokesman before the start of NBAA. He added that the first bonding of a fuselage panel for the first aircraft took place recently in the new G650 manufacturing plant in Savannah, Ga.
The facility opened earlier this year and has the potential to house two G650 production lines. Each line is capable of handling 45 airplanes per year. For now, Gulfstream has committed to opening only one line, but brisk demand for the new jet could change that as early as 2014.
Integrating Airliner Technology
Gulfstream announced the G650 in March. Customer deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2012. The new airplane will offer the longest range, fastest speed and largest cabin in the Gulfstream fleet. It will have a range of 7,000 nm at 0.85 Mach, 5,000 nm at 0.90 Mach, and a maximum operating speed of 0.925 Mach–making it the fastest civil aircraft flying. Suppliers for the new airplane already are lining up, and much of the new technology and new production methods for the G650 are coming from next-generation airliners such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.
Power will come from a pair of 16,100-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, which are more efficient than previous turbofans and have reduced noise and exhaust emissions. The new engines use swept main fan technology to produce almost 5 percent more takeoff thrust while reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by 5 percent and smoke by 10 percent. They are also 33 percent quieter than their predecessor, the Model BR710. The swept fan design also reduces noise emissions to 17 decibels below Stage 4 standards. The new engines will not only enable to G650 to conform to all existing and anticipated airport noise restrictions, they also make for a quieter cabin.
Honeywell is providing a variety of avionics including its Next Generation Flight Management System (NGFMS), slated to fly on the Boeing 747-8, and the RDR-4000 three-dimensional, turbulence-certified weather radar, currently installed on the Boeing 777, Airbus A380 and U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo jet. The NGFMS software is designed to be compatible with the FAA’s NextGen technology and Single European Sky initiative, and will incorporate new functionality, including continuous path guidance, required time of arrival, display of engine-out drift-down, and display of curved-path transitions for all legs. Honeywell is also providing dual five-inch LCD standby multifunction controllers, triple Laseref VI inertial reference systems, MCS-7120 satcom system, enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), and runway awareness and advisory system (RAAS).
Gulfstream’s Planeview II cockpit avionics suite is based around Honeywell’s Primus Epic system with four large 14-inch LCDs, INAV display, integrated EICAS, dual automatic flight control system with dual flight directors, dual autothrottle functions, dual radio systems with a third navcom, communications management function and central maintenance computer.
Stork Fokker is providing the composite tail and bonded fuselage panels. The new fuselage’s oval shape is not only more aerodynamically efficient than that of the G550, it also offers more cabin space. The unfinished aircraft cabin measures 102 inches wide and 77 inches high (75 inches finished), making it the largest cabin among true business jets. The cabin floor will be 80 inches wide (15 inches wider than the G550’s), and the interior sidewall to sidewall (at shoulders, seated) width will measure 98 inches. The extra space offers longer living area (two feet more than the G550) and more seat recline, leg room and stateroom options. It also allows for larger galleys, lavatories, storage, baggage and crew-rest areas.
Dimensions of key interior components have been dramatically enlarged. The cabin entry door is almost 75 inches tall (as opposed to 59.25 inches on the G550). The baggage area provides 195 cu ft of space and is accessible in flight and at all altitudes through the aft lavatory. The external baggage door has been enlarged by 8 percent compared to the G550 and lowered four inches to provide for easier loading. The G650 will have both forward and aft lavatories and they will be equipped with IWG-A6 ultraviolet water treatment and purification systems.
The wider floor allows for larger seats, wider aisles and the ability to seat three across in conference and dining groupings. The 16 cabin windows each measure 28 inches by 20.5 inches and will be the industry’s largest, 16 percent larger than on the G550. The windows will be placed slightly higher on the fuselage to improve viewing angle and will be spaced farther apart.
The G650 utilizes a 100-percent fresh-air system and provides a relatively low cabin altitude: 4,850 feet at FL510 and 2,800 feet at FL410. The environmental control system will feature quieter air distribution and independently vented lavatories.
The G650 can be configured for 11 to 18 passenger seats in one of 12 “select” floor plans that include six plans with forward galleys with or without crew rest areas (three with, three without) and six aft galley layouts, three with and three without crew rest areas. The mid-cabin credenza opposite the conference area can be replaced with two single seats and a sidewall table, creating a six-seat conference/dining area. The optional aft stateroom area is available with forward galley plans. It features a single seat, table, storage, a 27-inch LCD monitor and a berthing divan. The wide cabin floor means that when the divan is deployed, there is still ample aisle clearance to allow access to the aft lavatory and the baggage compartment.
Spirit AeroSystems of Tulsa, Okla., is building the wings, engine nacelles and thrust reversers for the G650. Ruag Aerospace has been tapped for the winglets, ailerons and spoilers, and Parker Aerospace will provide the fly-by-wire systems. The new wing is swept at 33 degrees and has a curved leading edge. Both the wing and the fuselage will be made from metal, but composites will
be used throughout the aircraft for smaller structures and components.