Gulfstream has resumed flight testing of its G650 ultra-long-range, ultra-large-cabin business jet following the self-imposed grounding of its G650 test fleet after the fatal accident at Roswell, New Mexico on 2 April.

The resumption of flight testing took place on 28 May using aircraft 6001. Piloted by Jake Howard and Tom Horne it performed a flight of 1h 39min.

However, the airframer has confirmed that it has implemented a temporary increase in the aircraft’s minimum speed and limited the maximum angle of attack on take-off.

"We have conducted all the necessary reviews to assure ourselves that we can safely resume the flight-test programme at this point," said Pres Henne, senior vice-president, programmes, engineering and test at the airframer.

Gulfstream G650
 © Gulfstream
The G650 has so far amassed 1,560h of flight testing

"We have worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration in this process and received the agency's concurrence to resume flight testing."

It was the company's "responsibility" to move forward with the flight-test campaign, he said, which will be carried out in a "safe and prudent manner".

In addition, the company used the downtime caused by the crash to implement an already-planned upgrade of its avionics software, it said.

So far the company has amassed 1,560h of flight testing, towards the estimated 2,200h required for certification.

It is still targeting certification in this year, with service entry scheduled for 2012.

The 13th G650 is being manufactured at Gulfstream's Savannah plant.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the 2 April crash of aircraft 6002, in which four Gulfstream employees were killed, is ongoing.

Meanwhile, more than 100 aircraft have been enrolled in the company's Flight Operations Risk Management Service , giving the programme "critical mass" said Gulfstream.

Described as the largest base of business aircraft in a flight operations quality assurance programme, the company said it is at the forefront of "bringing the discipline to business aviation".

Source: Flight International