October 9, 2011
By Thomas A. Horne
Gulfstream Aerospace announced that its newest, biggest offering—the large-cabin G650—continues to make progress toward its anticipated 2012 certification.
Four airplanes are now in the final phases of flight test, and the airplane’s predicted range performance ( 5,000 nautical miles at normal cruise power; 7,000 nm at long-range cruise power) has been confirmed. In addition, an electrically-powered backup flight control system has been successfully demonstrated. This system provides a third source of control, in the extreme unlikelihood of a failure of the flight control system’s dual, hydraulically powered actuators.
Some 600-plus G650 test flights have been flown, totaling 2,077 flight hours, a Gulfstream spokesman said. So far, the maximum speed obtained by the G650 was 0.995 Mach; maximum altitude was 55,000 feet.
In G280 news, Gulfstream said that flight tests of the Israel Aerospace Industries-partnered, eight-seat, 7,446-lbst Honeywell HTF7250G twinjet are almost complete. Those tests yielded unexpected benefits. The airplane’s four-passenger range, once advertised as 3,400 nm at 0.80 Mach, has been extended to 3,600 nm. Moreover, the G280’s balanced field length proved to be 4,750 feet—210 feet shorter than originally posted. Certification of the G280 is expected later this year.
GE Aviation has developed a jet-engine monitoring system that will have its first use on the Gulfstream G650 business jet. It monitors the health of the engines, avionics, power, cabin, and other aircraft systems. The data is transmitted to ground stations where it is monitored by Gulfstream and the aircraft operator.
The G650 is slated to enter service in 2012. The system was provided by GE Aviation offices in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Southampton, United Kingdom.
The technology dates back to 1991 when GE developed the first health and usage monitoring system for helicopters. GE has recorded and analyzed more than two million flight hours of data from more than 500 military and commercial helicopters.
“This is one of the first comprehensive health management systems for a civil airplane and a first for business jets,” said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems. “We are thrilled to be launching this new product and service with Gulfstream.”
GE Aviation provides jet engines, components, and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft.
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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