EBACE: Speed hike likely after G650 crash

Washington DC
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Gulfstream officials this morning stayed mum on most details about the circumstances of the fatal G650 crash on 2 April, but revealed one important clue about a likely impact of the flight-test tragedy in the short term.

The threshold for the G650's minimum speed is likely to rise after the US Federal Aviation Administration clears the long-range business jet to resume flight tests as the crash investigation continues by the National Transportation Safety Board.

"The accident occurred during one of those difficult tests. It was a single engine-out, low-speed, high angle-of-attack test," said Pres Henne, Gulfstream senior vice-president of programmes, engineering and test.

 © Gulfstream

"To be safe at this point it doesn't take much imagination to say in the near term you're going to increase some speeds just to give yourself some margin," Henne added. "Where that ends up is still under investigation. Clearly we're committed to the performance on the airplane and we'll achieve that, and that's probably as much as we can say about it at this point."

Gulfstream president Joe Lombard also acknowledged that some delays to certification are "likely", but the company is committed to delivering the first aircraft by the end of the year.

The first four production aircraft are nearly complete, with four others in production.

"At this point of time we feel pretty confident about the aircraft design," Lombardo said. "We're filling the building up with product and we'll continue to do so."