Gulfstream G650 achieves high speed cruise projections


Gulfstream G650 test aircraft achieves high speed cruise on fifth flight.  The aircraft travels 5,000 nautical miles nonstop at Mach0.90.

Just prior to the National Business Aviation Association
(NBAA) Meeting and Convention in Atlanta, Gulfstream test pilots and engineers
made a compelling demonstration of the Gulfstream G650’s exceptional high-speed
cruise capabilities, flying a 5,000-nautical-mile (9,260 km) closed circuit at
Mach 0.90 over the Atlantic Ocean in 9 hours and 45 minutes.

“Never has a business jet flown so far, so fast, so
flawlessly,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and
Test, Gulfstream.  “This airplane defines
a new level of productivity. Part of that is the ability to move executives in
comfort swiftly around the world.”

Aircraft Serial Number (S/N) 6004, the fourth test aircraft
in the flight-test program, and the first with a full interior, departed Savannah at 9:57 a.m.
local time on 9 October for the fastest ultra-long-range flight ever flown by a
business jet. The aircraft had flown a total of only 12 hours previously,
including seven hours with a fully installed interior. The jet is on display
for order holders at the NBAA industry conference in Atlanta this week.

Weight at take-off was 99,538 pounds (45,150 kg). The
aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 99,600 pounds (45,178 kg), allowing
it to operate from weight-restricted airports such as Teterboro and Aspen.

A crew of six manned the aircraft: Senior Experimental Test
Pilot Tom Horne; Production Test Pilots Al Moros and Rick Gowthrop; Flight Test
Engineer Michael Brinley; and Interior Specialists Allen Blaylock and Mike
Phipps. Blaylock and Phipps used the time aloft to examine the new cabin
installation under cold-soak conditions, evaluating the many new features of
the G650 cabin, including communications and entertainment equipment and the
airplane’s advanced Gulfstream Cabin Management System (GCMS).

Although six were aboard, the aircraft was ballasted to
simulate a crew of four and eight passengers.

Climb out was at 250 knots to 10,000 feet (3,048 m), then
300 knots, transitioning to Mach 0.85 until reaching cruise altitude.
Twenty-three minutes after brake release, the aircraft leveled off at its
initial cruise altitude of 39,000 feet (11,887 m) and accelerated to Mach 0.90,
later making step climbs to a final cruise altitude of 45,000 feet (13,716 m).

Due to the aircraft’s experimental status and its current
lack of reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) approval, there were some
restrictions to the route that could be selected for a high-speed
demonstration. Therefore, the aircraft flew in an offshore warning area in a
200- nautical-mile race-track pattern with 70-mile (113 km) turns flown at an
approximate bank angle of 12 degrees. Temperature along the route was close to
ISA with the worst case being ISA+7.

Descent was at Mach 0.90, transitioning to 300 knots and
then 250 knots at 10,000 feet (3,048 m) with a return landing with NBAA IFR
reserves in Savannah.

“At those speeds, we could have been in Buenos
Aires for dinner, or in Hawaii
for lunch due to the time zone change” said Horne. “We continue to be impressed
by the reliability and capability of this airplane at this early stage in its

The G650 has a range of 7,000 nm (12,964 km) at Mach 0.85.
It is the largest, fastest, longest-range purpose-built business jet.
Certification is planned for 2011 with customer deliveries beginning in 2012.

Core topics