Gulfstream on 24 January performed first flight of the fifth and final member of its airborne certification fleet for the ultra long-range G650.
Aircraft five, S/N 6005, completed a 2h 46min flight initial flight on the 24th, reaching a maximum altitude of 51,000ft (15,545m) and a test point top speed of M0.94, 1.6% above the normal M0.925 maximum cruising speed for the aircraft.
Pilots and engineers evaluated the avionics, flight control systems and handling qualities for the Rolls-Royce BR725-powered twin-jet, the aircraft destined to perform reduced vertical separation testing for certification.
Gulfstream in total has accumulated more than 1,100h in the planned 1,800h G650 flight test program, slated to culminate with US Federal Aviation Administration and European certification later this year and first deliveries in 2012.
Other recent milestones include completion of the initial flight control certification test for S/N 6001, negative G-force flight tests and brake control optimization tests for S/N 6002, successful flyover noise tests for S/N 6003 and completion of an initial cabin noise survey for S/N 6004, the aircraft with the first production interior.
The company is also readying a non-flying fatigue test aircraft to evaluate the lifelong structural integrity of the airframe.
"This flight represents a significant milestone in the overall certification program," says Pres Henne, Gulfstream senior vice president of programs, engineering and test. "We've had four aircraft flying for some time now, so we've already accomplished a broad range of tests. The flight test program is moving along at a brisk pace."