Nothing special about FAA G700 Special Conditions


A Gulfstream G700 will be proudly on display at the Singapore Airshow next week.

Back at headquarters in Savannah, Georgia, at least another 15 are sitting ready for customers as soon as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approves the aircraft.

On Tuesday the FAA issued what it calls a Final Special Condition regarding the electric flight control system for the G700 and G800. The regulator said that the aircraft’s electronic flight control is a “novel or unusual design feature when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport-category airplanes”.

It is absolutely nothing to worry about. It is just part of the fun of certification. 

This has attracted a lot of headlines, but it is absolutely nothing to worry about. It is just part of the fun of certification. It also demonstrates how airworthiness standards need updating. 

Pretty much every modern aircraft with fly-by-wire controls uses this Special Condition. Gulfstream has already delivered more than 800 aircraft (G650s, G500s and G600s) that used it. 

The FAA uses Special Conditions to establish a safety equivalent to legacy regulations. They then become part of the aircraft’s certification. The case with the G700/G800 shows how it is time for the regulations to be updated.

If you want more detail on the G700/G800 Special Condition, you can find it here. You can even make comments to the FAA about it if you feel strongly. The deadline for making these is March 29th, 2024. It is worth stressing that the aircraft can still be certified while the comment period is still open. 

Special Conditions are common with new aircraft certifications,” says David Hernandez, shareholder, Vedder Price and a former FAA employee. “The only problem is whether the FAA has the personnel and resources to evaluate it in a timely matter.”

In July 2023 Gulfstream had hoped to deliver 19 G700s before the end of the year. It is now targeting 50 for 2024.

The primary role of the FAA is safety. No one can criticise it for taking certification seriously. But this Special Condition shows that regulations desperately need updating. Gulfstream applied for G700 certification on December 31st, 2019 (by amending its GVI certificate).  

It is also a warning for anyone in advanced air mobility looking to use existing regulations. Gulfstream has been getting aircraft certificated since 1959. 

G700 Certification is getting closer, but owners want things to happen faster. That is why they ordered an aircraft that can fly at Mach 0.935.

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