Gulfstream’s G500 business jet programme has reached another major milestone on the route to certification, with the completion on 16 June of ultimate load testing.

The achievement keeps the large-cabin, long-range twinjet on track for US Federal Aviation Administration type certification at the end of 2017; service entry should follow early the following year.

Conducted over five months, the trials took place at Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. They involved testing the G500's fuselage, wing, vertical and horizontal stabilisers and control surfaces to 150% of the limit load. This is described by Gulfstream as the maximum load an aircraft should experience once during its service life.

“It involved eight primary test conditions,” the airframer says, “including wing up-and-down bending, horizontal up-and-down bending and wing torsion”.



The aircraft’s structural response was monitored through 6,000 instrumentation channels. Cameras were placed in the wing, empennage and fuselage.

Gulfstream president Mark Burns says: “The successful completion of these tests confirms the airframe’s solid construction, fulfils certification requirements, and clears the way for us to proceed with additional testing.”

These additional tests include a company-developed assessment involving even higher loads to determine the structural test aircraft’s destruction point.

Later this year, Gulfstream says it will begin a multi-year fatigue programme for the G500 that will simulate three lifetimes of airframe operation.

Meanwhile, the four G500 flight-test aircraft have accumulated more than 1,000h during 265 flights, the company says.

The first production-conforming aircraft, P1, is being outfitted at Gulfstream’s Savannah completions centre in preparation for its maiden sortie later this year, when it will be used to test the interior in flight.

Meanwhile, first flight of the G500's longer-range sister, the G600, is on track for year-end, with certification set for 2018 and service entry in 2019.

Launched in October 2014, the pair 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