Gulfstream G650 reaches near speed of sound

May 4, 2010

Gulfstream Aerospace may have trumped Cessna Aircraft May 2 by achieving a speed of Mach 0.925 during a test flight of its G650, just slightly above the Mach 0.92 cruise speed of the Citation X.

The G650, still in testing, can travel 7,000 nautical miles when slowed to Mach 0.85, but it has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925.

For now, you can find claims on both the Gulfstream and Cessna websites claiming to build the fastest business jet. Maybe it will take a race between the two before anyone knows for sure.

The G650 is described by Gulfstream in marketing terms as “ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range.” The aircraft achieved the speed at 42,500 feet during a one-hour, 26-minute test flight with test pilots John O’Meara and Tom Horne aboard. (It wasn’t AOPA Pilot’s Tom Horne—but a Gulfstream-based pilot with the same name.) The pilots said the aircraft proved stable with excellent flight characteristics and “fantastic maneuver capabilities.”

Al Marsh

Alton K. Marsh | AOPA Pilot Senior Editor, AOPA

AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.