Gulfstream is praising the early reliability of its latest and largest business jet as a completed G650 makes a debut appearance at EBACE.
The US Federal Aviation Administration certificated the ultra-large G650 twin-engined jet in September, allowing the Savannah, Georgia-based aircraft maker to deliver six of the type in 2012 and an undisclosed number already this year.
So far, the delivered G650s are performing well in service, despite minor teething issues that would be expected as any new aircraft enters the market, says Gulfstream senior vice-president of sales and marketing Scott Neal.
"In my experience, this is probably the smoothest entry into service we've had," says Neal, a 19-year veteran of the company.
The G650 also introduces several advanced technologies on a Gulfstream jet, including a fly-by-wire flight control system. The "minor issues" so far have focused on the cabin management system, he says, although this has been resolved by new software.
A green G650 without an interior made a cameo appearance at EBACE in 2012, after flying non-stop from the US East Coast. That aircraft, however, was still dedicated to the flight-test programme and did not include a finished cabin interior.
Although Gulfstream has now certificated both the G650 and the G280, it is not yet ready to commit to formally launching an all-new aircraft.
"Right now, we are very comfortable with the G550 and G650 positioning," Neal says. At the same time, Gulfstream is "certainly looking at" new development opportunities, he says.
However, there are signs Gulfstream is close to revealing a new product called the P42, which some analysts view as a replacement for the G450. Parker Aerospace recently posted a job advertisement for an engineer to develop a flight control system for the "Gulfstream P42".
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