The world’s fastest business jet–the wide-cabin Gulfstream G650–received provisional type certification from the FAA, Savannah, Ga.-based Gulfstream Aerospace announced today. This action clears the way for the company to begin completing G650s in preparation for customer deliveries in the second quarter of next year, keeping the program exactly on its original schedule despite the loss of test aircraft S/N 6002 in April.
“We are pursuing a two-step certification approach to keep us on track for our planned deliveries in the second quarter of 2012,” said Gulfstream president Larry Flynn. “With the [provisional type certificate] in hand, our plan is to move production aircraft into final phase manufacturing to ensure customer deliveries in the second quarter of 2012.” The company told AIN last month that provisional certification was always in the plan.
According to Gulfstream, the four flight-test G650s have flown more than 2,225 hours over some 675 flights. G650 S/N 6004 has been flying with a fully outfitted interior since October last year, allowing the company to confirm weight projections and test new features, such as the twinjet’s redundant cabin systems.
Systems that need final tweaking for full certification are avionics software-related, Scott Neal, Gulfstream senior vice president of sales and marketing, told AIN late last month. “Until avionics software is matured beyond provisional type certification, the FMS, autopilot, auto-throttle and HUD/EVS will be inoperative.” During the provisional certification period, he added, “We will continue to fly at slightly higher rotation and climb speeds pending further runway performance testing that will be conducted after [provisional certification]. The rest of the altitude and speed envelope is finalized.”
To date, seven production G650s have flown, and with the provisional certification in hand Gulfstream can now start to deliver the green aircraft to customers and simultaneously begin installing their interiors. A further 20 G650s are in various stages of initial or final-phase production, Gulfstream said. In total, the company plans to deliver 10 to 12 green G650s to customers by year-end.
Among its achievements, the G650 has flown for more than 14 consecutive hours, with flight test data confirming its can fly 7,000 nm at Mach 0.85. The aircraft has also demonstrated 5,000 nm at Mach 0.90. Its top speed is Mach 0.925, making it the world’s fastest civilian jet in current operation–though only by a thin margin since the Cessna Citation X can fly at Mach 0.92.
“The G650 will exceed the capabilities of anything on the market, flying faster and farther, with industry-leading fuel efficiency and reduced emissions,” Flynn concluded.