September 30, 2009
By Thomas A. Horne
Gulfstream’s new top-of-the-line flagship, the G650, rolled out of the Savannah, Ga., factory on Sept. 29. The airplane rolled out under its own power, in front of an audience of 7,000 onlookers—including customers, certification authorities, and local dignitaries.
“Our customers had an instrumental role in the design of the G650,” said Pres Henne, Gulfstream’s senior vice president of programs, engineering and test. “The G650 will set new levels of performance in aircraft capability, cabin environment, and maintainability. Customer input was used to guide fuselage selection as well as aircraft performance characteristics.”
The G650 will come with what the company calls Gulfstream Cabin Essentials. This includes redundant fiber optic and wireless technologies, along with the “latest innovations in lighting, seating, acoustics, and cabin systems,” said Henne.
Gulfstream announced the G650 in March 2008. The airplane is set for its first flight later this year and is expected to be certified in 2011. First deliveries are planned for 2012.
The G650 seats 11 to 18 passengers; is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR725 A1-12 engines of 16,100 lb thrust apiece; has a maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.90; and can fly 7,000 nm at Mach 0.85. Maximum operating altitude is 51,000 feet.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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