On January 12, Gulfstream’s newest jet undertook an interesting test. The G650 (S/N 6004) demonstrated high-speed, fuel-efficient cruising capabilities, flying more than 1,900 nautical miles (3,545 km) in 3 hours and 26 minutes. The aircraft accomplished the mission at speeds between Mach 0.91 and 0.92, with a brief segment at the aircraft’s maximum operating Mach 0.925. Its average ground speed was more than 550 knots and its maximum ground speed en route was over 660 knots.
The G650 lifted off with a calculated balanced field length of under 4,500 feet (1,372 m) and climbed at Mach 0.85 to a cruising altitude of 43,000 feet (13,196 m), transitioning to Mach 0.91 or above for the remainder of the flight.
“One key figure here,” said Pres Henne, SVP Programs, Engineering and Test, “is balanced field length, the minimum required runway under the atmospheric conditions. To achieve this kind of performance means that the G650 can go just about anywhere a smaller business jet would routinely go. That is a major benefit to operators.”
S/N 6004 is one of five aircraft currently flying as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification plan. The five aircraft have accumulated more than 1,200 hours of flight and are on track for certification in 2011, with entry into service in 2012. This arguably makes the G650 the only aircraft program that is on-time in terms of EIS – at present. And that is no small feat.