Gulfstream Aerospace parent company General Dynamics today warned that G700 certification, planned for the fourth quarter, could be delayed by three to six months due to a new, additional requirement by the FAA. According to General Dynamics chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic, the FAA has asked Gulfstream to perform a line-by-line validation of the software for the fly-by-wire, ultra-long-range business jet.
The disclosure validates industry fears about higher FAA scrutiny of future aircraft certifications in the wake of the Boeing Max debacle. Novakovic didn’t specifically mention Boeing, instead skirting around the issue by saying the time-consuming, extra requirement “is the result of events independent of us.”
Novakovic added that a delay in G700 certification will also have a knock-on effect on the derivative G800. First flight of the G800 is planned for first-quarter 2023—timed to occur just after G700 approval—while certification has always been “six to nine months after the G700.” Delayed certification will also interrupt the start of G700 deliveries, though Gulfstream would increase production of other models to make up for the temporary shortfall, she said.
Meanwhile, all G700 structure testing is complete and FAA certification of the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines is expected in the coming months, she noted. Production of customer G700s is also underway and the five flight-test program aircraft have logged 2,800 hours to date, according to Novakovic.