Only one year after confirming the programme’s existence, Gulfstream flew the first test G500 aircraft to Henderson on 14 November, allowing NBAA convention attendees to experience the company’s newest and most advanced business jet.

The 4h 36min flight covering 1,630nm (3,018km) between Gulfstream’s factory in Savannah, Georgia and Henderson was intended to dramatically highlight the programme’s progress since flight tests began last May.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to show the progress we’ve been able to make in a very short amount of time. We’re really excited to have our customers see it, feel it and touch it,” says Mark Kohler, vice-president of advanced aircraft programmes for Gulfstream.

Among the G500’s achievements so far is flight envelope expansion tests up to flight level 50,000ft and speeds up to Mach 0.995. The latter represents a certification requirement for the G500, which will share the G650’s maximum operating speed of M0.925.

The G500 is the first commercial aircraft in flight test equipped with active sidesticks, which electronically replicate the mechanical coupling of both yokes in aircraft lacking fly-by-wire technology.

Gulfstream believes the active control inceptors should reduce the risk of accidents caused by confusion between pilots about what flight control inputs the other pilot is commanding.

So far, the flight test programme has mainly been limited to evaluating the aircraft in the limited “first flight” mode of the normal fly-by-wire system. Test pilots also have reverted to an alternate mode a few times, but only to check how the handling qualities are affected by mode changes, says Scott Neal, vice-president of sales and marketing for Gulfstream.

Source: Flight Daily News