The Gulfstream G600 business jet took another step towards certification on 21 June, when the airframer’s fourth aircraft joined the flight test campaign.
During its 1h 18min sortie, the large-cabin, long-range twin climbed to an altitude of 51,000ft (15,545m) and reached a top speed of Mach 0.925.
The debut flight comes less than two months after the third G600 joined the programme and six months after the flight test campaign for the clean-sheet 6,200nm (11,470km)-range aircraft began.
To date the three examples have notched up over 570h of testing across 130 sorties, says Gulfstream, and the G600 remains on track for certification and service entry in 2018.
Dan Nale, the company’s senior vice president, programmes, engineering and test, describes the G600's progress as “a remarkable achievement”.
He attributes the programme’s maturity to Gulfstream’s "strategic planning and research" ahead of its launch, and the experience it gained from the G500 certification campaign, which began in May 2015. This aircraft – the smaller and shorter-range sibling to the G600 – is scheduled for certification and service entry in the fourth quarter.
“Thanks to our concurrent flight-test programmes,” says Nale, "we can apply lessons learned from the more mature G500 programme to the G600, resulting in a more streamlined certification effort."
The fifth G600 test aircraft – and first production conforming model – was recently delivered to Gulfstream’s Savannah completions centre for outfitting. It is scheduled to enter service later this year, when it will be used to validate the interior and ensure successful integration of the aircraft’s systems.
Launched in 2014, the G600 and G500 are designed with Gulfstream’s widest-ever cabin, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW800 engines, fly-by-wire controls and an industry first application of active control sidesticks in a commercial aircraft.
Source: Flight International