Gulfstream Aerospace Corp, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, today announced that the all-new Gulfstream G500 successfully completed its first flight. The G500 is part of Gulfstream’s new family of clean-sheet aircraft, the G500 and G600, and the first of the two to begin flight tests.
The G500 took off at 10:39 a.m. May 18 from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, with Gulfstream experimental test pilots Scott Martin and Kevin Claffy at the controls. Flight Test engineer Bill Osborne provided on-board support.
The aircraft climbed to an initial altitude of 10,500 feet/3,200 meters and reached a maximum altitude of 15,000 ft/4,572 m. During the 2-hour-and-16-minute flight, the crew exercised all primary flight control systems; evaluated handling qualities in takeoff and landing configurations; performed a simulated approach and go-around; and checked all systems using the SymmetryTM flight deck touchscreen controllers. The aircraft achieved a maximum air speed of 194 knots. It landed back in Savannah at 12:55 p.m. local time.
“The successful first flight of N500GA represents the tremendous investments we have made in the G500 program,” said Dan Nale, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “We have achieved this milestone thanks to Gulfstream’s world-class research and development teams and our commitment to setting new standards for business aviation.”
Years before this first flight, Gulfstream established four labs dedicated to the G500 program:
- A Conceptual Advanced Simulation Environment to develop fly-by-wire control laws and perform human factors evaluations
- A systems integration bench to integrate the avionics and aircraft systems with the aircraft’s Data Concentration Network
- A full flight deck integration test facility to evaluate major avionic and aircraft systems and software
- The ITF also includes an outfitted cabin to test the galley, the Gulfstream Cabin Management System and other interior elements
- And an iron bird — a spatially correct, dimensionally accurate structure, including the flight deck, used to rigorously evaluate the fly-by-wire flight controls, hydraulics, electrical systems and landing gear
Before today’s flight, Gulfstream completed more than 34,000 hours of testing in the G500 labs on the ground before taking to the skies.
The G500 flight-test program consists of five aircraft, including a fully outfitted production aircraft that will allow the company to test all the interior elements and complete integration of the aircraft systems with the passenger experience.
The G500 rolled out under its own power on Oct. 14, 2014, when Gulfstream also revealed a nearly 70-foot/21-meter mockup of the G600. The two new aircraft optimize speed, wide-cabin comfort and efficiency to offer customers best-in-class performance with advanced safety features.
The G500 can fly 5,000 nautical miles/9,260 kilometers at Mach 0.85 or 3,800 nm/7,038 km at Mach 0.90. The maximum operating speed for the aircraft is Mach 0.925, the same maximum speed as Gulfstream’s G650 and G650ER. The aircraft is powered by the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA engine, which delivers excellent fuel efficiency, fewer emissions and less engine noise. Pratt & Whitney Canada received certification of the PW800 series engine in February.
The G500 and G600 also include Gulfstream’s all-new SymmetryTM Flight Deck, the most advanced, stylish, comfortable and intuitive flight deck in business aviation. The cutting-edge technology comes in the form of active control sidesticks, integrated touchscreen controllers, next-generation enhanced vision system, and Honeywell Primus Epic avionics.
In addition to the revolutionary Symmetry Flight Deck, the G500 and G600 cabins maximize passenger comfort and aircraft performance and can carry up to 19 passengers. The optimized wide cabin also features an industry-leading cabin altitude of 4,850 ft/1,478 m at FL510 and 100 percent fresh air that boosts mental alertness and productivity while reducing fatigue.
The G500 is expected to receive type certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency in 2017. It is slated to enter service in 2018.