Gulfstream's ultra-long-range G650 business jet has been rolled out under its own power at the airframer's Savannah, Georgia facility.
The milestone comes 18 months after the large-cabin aircraft was launched and Gulfstream says first flight is expected later this year, leading to certification and service entry in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
About 7,000 people gathered at the new G650 manufacturing building for the aircraft's debut. "We've all been looking forward to this day since we officially announced the G650 programme last year," says Joe Lombardo, executive vice-president, General Dynamics Aerospace. "I am eagerly awaiting the first flight later this year."
Gulfstream says the G650 offers the longest range, fastest speed, largest cabin and the most advanced cockpit in the Gulfstream fleet. It features an all-new fuselage cross-section, allowing a wider and taller cabin than the previous top-of-the-line G550 model.
© Jon Ostrower/Flight International
The G650 is capable of travelling 12,950km (7,000nm) at Mach 0.85 and has a maximum operating speed of M0.925 - "which will make it the fastest civil aircraft flying. It can climb to an altitude of 51,000ft [15,545m], which allows it to avoid traffic and inclement weather," says the airframer.
"Our customers had an instrumental role in the design of the G650," says Pres Henne, senior Gulfstream's vice-president, programmes, engineering and test. "Customer input was used to guide fuselage size selection as well as aircraft performance characteristics. The Rolls-Royce BR725-powered G650 is equipped with Gulfstream's PlaneView II cockpit and an advanced aircraft health and trend monitoring system to support aircraft maintenance planning and improve availability," he adds.
"Along with traditional measures of aircraft performance, significant effort has been spent in ensuring the cabin will be in a class by itself. The Gulfstream Cabin Essential systems include redundant fibre-optic and wireless technologies, along with innovations in lighting, seating, acoustics and cabin systems. Three-dimensional electronic design tools were used to design the aircraft," Henne says.