Gulfstream is not shy about the fact that the new wide-cabin G650 may be the first of a new jet family for the Savannah, Ga.-based aircraft manufacturer. In fact, Jay Johnson, president and CEO of Gulfstream parent General Dynamics, said as much at the Morgan Stanley Global Industrials Conference held early last month: “We are already working on product development beyond the G250 and G650–that’s not the end of the line.”
The GE Honda joint venture last Thursday fired up the first conforming version of its new 2,095-lb-thrust HF120 engine currently slated for certification in 2011. Initial engine tests are typically completed in a sea-level test cell, with high-altitude performance testing conducted onboard an aircraft.
Several suppliers for Gulfstream’s new G650 were recently announced, some of which updated their progress building components for the new aircraft.
Gulfstream Aerospace achieved significant milestones for not one but two new models–the G650 and G250–just weeks before the NBAA Convention opened, with both models taxiing toward assembled crowds under their own power for their respective public rollout ceremonies. Both jets are expected to make their first flights later this year and will be certified under new type certificates.
Gulfstream and Israel Aerospace Industries publically introduced the first example of the Gulfstream G250 at IAI’s facility on Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, two weeks before the opening of this year’s NBAA Convention in Orlando.
Nordam, a global aerospace company serving the business, commercial and military aviation markets, is marking more than 40 years of growth at this year’s NBAA Convention. Part of that growth comes from the wing-to-body fairings and main-landing-gear doors the company has just begun providing for Gulfstream’s G650, which are supplied by Nordam’s interiors and structures division.
Joe Lombardo became president of Gulfstream Aerospace on April 9, 2007. He also serves as executive vice president of the General Dynamics aerospace group and was Gulfstream’s chief operating officer before becoming president. Before joining Gulfstream in 1996 as vice president of co-production, he served in leadership roles at Douglas Aircraft.
Despite the recession, a significant number of new aircraft programs remain largely on track. OEMs such as Cessna, Dassault Falcon, Embraer, and Gulfstream all appear to be staying close to their development schedules, while Hawker Beechcraft has pushed back the Premier II until 2012 (from 2010). Newcomers Honda and Spectrum appear to have suffered some minor slippage, sending the earliest deliveries of those aircraft into 2011.
Under bright blue skies on September 29, Gulfstream Aerospace rolled out the first wide-cabin G650 powered by its two Rolls-Royce BR725 engines before a crowd of about 7,000 people at the company’s Savannah, Ga. headquarters. The $64.5 million (2009 $) twinjet–dubbed T1, for test aircraft one–is currently undergoing ground tests and is scheduled to fly by the end of this year.
Business aviation would be nowhere if it weren’t for the pioneers who jump-started aeronautical development in the first part of the last century. The Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh and the early air racers who squeezed every ounce of available technology into what were then state-of-the-art airplanes all deserve much credit.