Gulfstream announced today that the scheduled first flight of the G600 business jet should take place a few months early in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The new three-month window places the flying debut of the large cabin aircraft in the same timeframe as the NBAA annual convention in Orlando, Florida, in November.

“It’s our goal to attempt to fly the G600 before the year is out,” Neal says.

The new schedule advances first flight from the previously scheduled window in early 2017. But certification of the G600 remains fixed in 2018, with entry into service following in 2019.

Gulfstream has joined the wing and empennage of the first G600 flight test aircraft in Savannah, Georgia, Neal says. The second flight test aircraft and the static test article is also in production.

The G600 will follow its shorter-range sister aircraft, the G500, into flight test about 18 months later. Since completing first flight last May, the G500 has piled up nearly 250 flights and 1,000 flight hours, Neal says. Test pilots have flown the G500 up to Mach 0.995 and as long as 7.5h duration, he adds.

Despite adding a new cockpit system, including industry-first active control sidesticks, the G500 and G600 programmes have been demonstrating “terrific” reliability in flight and ground tests so far, Neal says.

“It has been something we haven’t seen before,” Neal says.

The improvement follows Gulfstream’s decision to invest in an elaborate complex of ground-based systems and mechanical laboratories. More than 48,000h of testing have already been compiled on the G500 and G600 over the programme’s eight-year history, he says.