SAVANNAH, GA – Gulfstream Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, recently completed its first simulated flight of the company’s flagship jet, the state-of-the-art Gulfstream G650. The event took place Dec. 15 in the G650 Integration Test Facility (ITF) located at Gulfstream headquarters in Savannah.
Project Pilot Jake Howard and Chief Experimental Pilot John O'Meara conducted the first flight. A team of engineers and other pilots also had an opportunity to operate the controls during the real-time simulation.
The G650 ITF, which was developed by a team of Gulfstream engineers and technicians, comprises a full-scale cockpit with avionics, hardware and sensors. It also includes a full-scale cabin mock-up with a galley. To be as representative of the aircraft as possible, the G650 ITF uses final data design and maximum use of production hardware running in a closed-loop simulation. It utilizes the first nose, which was produced using new tools and processes in the recently built G650 manufacturing facility. The ITF enables all aircraft systems to be thoroughly evaluated and tested by engineers and pilots in a controlled lab environment well before the aircraft makes its maiden flight.
"I am delighted that development of the G650 is going as planned," said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. "This achievement demonstrates the successful integration of numerous cockpit systems, including those designed by Gulfstream and those provided by our suppliers. It reflects the effort and progress of a very talented team that’s dedicated to the development of the G650."
More than 800 Gulfstream employees are directly involved in the design, development, manufacture and testing of the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range G650 aircraft. This number does not include the support and marketing people also involved in the program or the comprehensive international supplier network.
Gulfstream announced the G650 on March 13, 2008. It offers the longest range, fastest speed, and largest cabin in the company's fleet. It is capable of traveling 7,000 nautical miles at 0.85 Mach or 5,000 nautical miles at 0.90 Mach. With its advanced aerodynamic design, the G650 has a maximum operating speed of 0.925, which will make it the fastest civil aircraft flying.
Gulfstream expects to begin G650 customer deliveries in 2012. Based on its development schedule, the aircraft is projected to receive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type Certification and validation by the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) in 2011. The first flight of the G650 is scheduled for the second half of this year.