Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced last Friday that a second and third Gulfstream G500 aircraft (T2 and T3) joined the flight test campaign with successful completion of their initial flights.
T2 focuses on flight loads validation, while T3 is the main test bed for the G500 avionics systems.
T2 took off at 9:07 a.m. from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport on Friday, Nov. 20. Flight Test pilots Kevin Claffy and Todd Abler were at the controls, and Flight Test engineers Tim Spackman and Craig Ziolkowski provided test conductor and on-board data analysis support.
Operating within the flight envelope cleared by the first G500 test aircraft (T1), T2 climbed to a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet/13,106 meters and reached a maximum airspeed of 300 KCAS/Mach 0.85. During the 3-hour-and-3-minute flight, the crew exercised all primary flight control systems, performed functional checks of the air data and cabin pressurization systems and completed a series of engine performance measurements. The aircraft landed back in Savannah at 12:10 p.m. local time.
T3 departed Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport at 2:55 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20. At the controls were Flight Test pilots Tom Horne and Colin Miller. Flight Test engineers Grant Schoonover and Greg Vallone provided on-board support and data analysis. During the 2-hour-and-25-minute flight, the aircraft reached a maximum airspeed of 300 KCAS/Mach 0.85 and a top altitude of 45,000 ft/13,716 m. T3 landed in Savannah at 5:20 p.m. local time.
“It’s been quite a day for the flight test program with the second and third test aircraft making their first flight and T1 returning to Savannah from the National Business Aviation Association event in Las Vegas,” said Dan Nale, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “We’re very happy with the progress we’ve made. The amount of time and energy our people have invested in this program, both in the air and the labs, is what makes Gulfstream a leader in business aviation. The first flight of an aircraft attests to the fact that we’re closer to putting it into the hands of our customers and delivering on our promises.”
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. T1 is focused on flight performance and controls and has achieved a number of milestones since its initial flight on May 18. Its most notable achievement occurred on Nov. 12, when it reached a speed of Mach 0.995 while flying at 50,000 ft/15,240 m. So far, T1 has flown more than 168 hours and completed 47 missions. Flutter and envelope expansion testing is progressing and initial testing of the aircraft’s handling qualities and performance characteristics have also taken place.
Along with flight loads validation, T2 is concentrating on aircraft performance and systems testing. T3 is testing most of the features in the all-new, cutting-edge Symmetry Flight DeckTM and evaluating the ice-protection system performance, landing gear and nosewheel steering operation, Environmental Control System performance and various other mechanical systems.
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 aircraft is powered by the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA engine, which delivers excellent fuel efficiency, fewer emissions and less noise.
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 scheduled to enter service in 2018.