G650’s Fly-by-wire Electric Backup Aces Initial Test

 - January 13, 2011, 11:09 AM

Gulfstream G650 flight-test aircraft S/N 6001 recently flew for the first time using only an electrically powered, fly-by-wire (FBW) backup flight-control actuation system, the Savannah, Ga.-based aircraft manufacturer announced yesterday. During a three-hour, 33-minute flight on December 21, test pilots Jake Howard and Gary Freeman and flight-test engineers Bill Osborne and Nathaniel Rutland evaluated the fly-by-wire system in electric backup actuation mode for two hours and 20 minutes, performing five landings with the backup system engaged. Fly-by-wire systems typically use a third hydraulic system to provide redundancy, but Gulfstream’s FBW architecture for the G650 has electric backup hydraulic actuators (EBHA)–one at every primary control surface (elevator, rudder and aileron) and the outboard spoiler. The test flight began by evaluating electric backup-mode handling qualities in one axis and then progressed to full evaluations in all three axes. “The system performed flawlessly,” said Pres Henne, Gulfstream senior vice president of programs, engineering and test. “There was no difference in handling qualities between the electrically and hydraulically powered modes.”