EASA has approved Gulfstream’s G650 and G650ER business jets for 6-degree steep approach operations at European airports. Announcing the clearance on Tuesday, the U.S. manufacturer said the long-range, large-cabin aircraft can now fly into popular private aviation gateways such as London City Airport, with its 5.5-degree approach and 4,327-foot runway.
At the Farnborough Airshow this week, Gulfstream is showcasing its new G800 model, which it intends to fly up to 8,000 nm. The aircraft merges the G650ER fuselage with the G700's wing, tail, Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, and Honeywell Epic-based Symmetry flight deck with active control sidesticks.
Less than a month after the G800’s first flight on June 28, the jet made its first international appearance, having flown the transatlantic trip from Savannah, Georgia in just under seven hours. The G800 flies to a maximum speed of Mach 0.925 and operates at up to 51,000 feet.
Gulfstream president Mark Burns said that by early September the company hopes to lift operating restrictions on approach speeds and control inputs for the G500 and G600 models imposed in May by an FAA airworthiness directive. That followed a hard landing in a G500, prompting software changes that the company expects to demonstrate to FAA pilots later this week.
Burns explained that the same new software will replicate that already used on the G700. Gulfstream will incorporate it into the G800, which the company aims to have certified and ready to enter service by the end of 2023.
This week, Gulfstream also announced the appointment of Mark Bates as the new general manager of its Farnborough service center. The 225,000-sq-ft facility opened in 2020 and is part of a $500 million investment in product support infrastructure that the company has made in the past 10 years, according to Derek Zimmerman, president of Gulfstream customer support. The building, which sits on the other side of the runway from the Farnborough Airshow, can accommodate 13 large business jets simultaneously.
Two weeks ago, Gulfstream opened another new customer support center at Alliance Airport in Texas that will serve operators in the southern U.S., as well as central and South America. In May Gulfstream started construction of another new facility in Mesa, Arizona.
According to Zimmerman, Gulfstream’s $1 billion investment in spare parts has left it well prepared to deal with the supply chain issues now impeding the wider aviation industry. He said that the company is also investing in training new skilled staff, through initiatives such as the mechanic training program operated in the UK by Farnborough Technical College.