Another initiative for 2018 is to continue our focus on providing customers the most advanced technology from start to finish
|By Jason Akovenko |
Regional Vice President (Asia-Pacific), Gulfstream Aerospace
Gulfstream ends a busy year of first flights, milestones and flight testing in 2017, we can’t help but look to 2018 with excitement and enthusiasm. Any year with an aircraft in development is a busy one, and we happen to be developing two — the all-new Gulfstream G500 and G600.The aircraft, powered by two Rolls-Royce’s Adour Mk 811 turbofan engines, is underpowered and hence to improve its flight envelop which could allow it to operate in high operating environment such as in the mountains, a more powerful engine is required.
Since 2015, our priority has been in-flight validation, and every year since has been in rigorous pursuit of that goal. In fact, 40 per cent of the new aircraft family’s first flights took place last year alone. With first flights in the rearview mirror and an impressive 10 test articles now in the sky, the focus for is about continuing to perfect two aircraft that have shown both promise and performance.
Over the course of the G500 and G600’s rigorous flight test programme, the aircraft demonstrated performance beyond original projections. As we announced at the 2017 NBAA-BACE, the G500 can fly 5,200 nautical miles/9,630 kilometres at its long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.85, which is 600 nm/1,111 km more than initial expectations. This increased range provides customers the ability to connect cities like Bangalore and London in 9 hours and 44 minutes at Mach 0.87.
Its sister ship, the G600, will now deliver 6,500 nm/12,038 km at the same speed of Mach 0.85. These increases will allow customers unparalleled mission flexibility and the ability to link even more destinations like Delhi and Melbourne in 11 hours and 23 minutes at Mach 0.87.
The five G500 aircraft in the test fleet have achieved more than 1,130 flights and have completed more than 4,100 hours of testing. The fully outfitted production G500 demonstrated its increased range when it flew its longest flight to date from London to Las Vegas in 10 hours and 19 minutes, setting a record in the process.
As certification draws closer, future G500 and G600 pilots are training on the groundbreaking Gulfstream Symmetry Flight Deck™ — a flight deck truly designed by pilots for pilots that will change the way business jets are flown. Considerable feedback from pilot demos reflects that these are truly “pilots’ aircraft” thanks to the smooth, intuitive handling and easy adoption of electronically linked active control sidesticks.
A revolutionary aircraft family is not simply an exciting achievement for Gulfstream, but will shape and redefine business aviation, setting the standard for years to come
Although the two flight test programmes are operating separately, commonalities between each aircraft’s flight deck and avionics enabled us to apply much of what we’re learning on the G500 to the G600 programme.
Customers will save hours of flight time thanks to PW800-series engines, resulting in greater fuel efficiency, performance and speed, as well as longer durations between scheduled maintenance.
Another initiative for 2018 is to continue our focus on providing customers the most advanced technology from start to finish — and that includes the design process. As we showcased at NBAA-BACE, customers have the option to select and experience countless interior design options when using Gulfstream’s immersive reality tools. The ability to easily view myriad cabin configurations and customizable design options is just another way we aim to exceed expectations.
Ushering in a new aircraft family involves every single pair of hands at Gulfstream, from engineers and technicians, to designers and upholsterers. Each one of us looks forward to a year like 2018 when we get to witness the culmination of our years of effort — delivering the G500 and G600 to customers. A revolutionary aircraft family is not simply an exciting achievement for Gulfstream, but will shape and redefine business aviation, setting the standard for years to come.