Gulfstream G650 Shows Off Its Fast Legs

 - February 11, 2011, 10:45 AM

Gulfstream G650 S/N 6004 recently demonstrated the modelπs high-speed cruising capabilities, flying more than 1,900 nm in 3 hours and 26 minutes. While the aircraft averaged an impressive groundspeed of 550 knots on the coast-to-coast flight, it wasn't a civil record–in February 2003 Steve Fossett flew his Cessna Citation X from San Diego to Charleston, S.C., in 2 hours 56 minutes, averaging almost 632 knots thanks to a strong tailwind. With 10 crewmembers aboard, S/N 6004 took off from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif., at 12:21 p.m. PST on January 12 and landed at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport at 6:47 p.m. EST. The wide-cabin twinjet flew at speeds between Mach 0.91 and 0.92, with a brief segment at the G650πs Mach 0.925 Mmo. "These are typical operational Mach numbers customers can expect from this aircraft," said Pres Henne, Gulfstream senior vice president of programs, engineering and test. The G650 lifted off with a calculated balanced field length of less than 4,500 feet. "To achieve this kind of performance means that the G650 can go just about anywhere a smaller business jet would routinely go," Henne noted. "That is a major benefit to operators." The five flight-test G650s have accumulated more than 1,200 flight hours, and the new model is on track for FAA certification and green deliveries later this year, Gulfstream said.