Gulfstream G650 Crosses the Certification Finish Line
The wide-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 received full FAA type certification today, just days after the Savannah-based aircraft manufacturer obtained final FAA and Israeli approval for its super-midsize G280. Gulfstream Aerospace expects to deliver the first outfitted G650s to customers before year-end; it delivered 12 green G650s late last year after receiving provisional FAA certification in November.
“The G650 is a superlative aircraft with the most technologically advanced flight deck in business aviation and the largest, most comfortable cabin in its class. In short, the G650 speaks to all that is good about business aviation: safety, security, flexibility, comfort and capability,” said Gulfstream president Larry Flynn. “We designed the G650 with significant input from our advanced technology customer advisory team, and we’re extremely proud of what our entire organization has accomplished with this aircraft.”
Notably, the G650 has a cabin measuring 102 inches wide and 77 inches high, which is three inches taller and 14 inches wider than that on the G550, Gulfstream’s previous flagship. It also has a low cabin altitude of 4,850 feet at FL510 and 3,300 feet at FL410, which the company says reduces fatigue, increases mental alertness and enhances productivity. The G650’s 16 sideways oval cabin windows are the largest in the industry, and are some 16 percent larger than those on the G550.
In the cockpit are PlaneView II avionics, based on the Honeywell Primus Epic system, including four 14-inch LCD screens. Its next-generation avionics feature automatic descent mode; Waas-LPV; future air navigation system (Fans) 1/A; and controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC). In addition, the G650 comes standard with the Gulfstream enhanced vision system (EVS II), synthetic vision-primary flight display (SV-PFD) and a head-up display.
Powered by a pair of 16,100-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, the G650 has a balanced field length of 6,000 feet at mtow and a 3,000-foot landing distance at mlw. Other performance specs include 7,000-nm range at Mach 0.85 and 5,000 nm at Mach 0.90. Its top speed is Mach 0.925.
Notably, the G650 is Gulfstream’s first fly-by-wire (FBW) business jet. The twinjet’s three-axis FBW system offers flight-envelope protection, increased redundancy and reduced maintenance. It has a separate and dedicated backup flight-control computer that provides an additional level of safety, according to Gulfstream.
Gulfstream announced the G650 in March 2008 and flew the airplane for the first time in November 2009. Since then, seven flight-test aircraft were involved in the flight-test program, accumulating more than 3,889 hours over the course of 1,181 flights. One of those test aircraft, S/N 6002, was destroyed in a fatal accident during flight-testing in Roswell, N.M., on April 2, 2011; the NTSB has not yet determined the probable cause of this crash.
To date, the company has received orders for more than 200 G650s. Jay Johnson, chairman and CEO of Gulfstream parent General Dynamics, says the $65 million aircraft is popular because it “sets the new world standard for business-jet performance, range, speed and comfort…[it] is already the envy of the global market and is sure to become a milestone aircraft in aviation history.”