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Gulfstream G650 completes flight limit load testing

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced today that the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 has successfully completed all structural limit load testing required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The G650 passed limit load testing on its primary structural components, including fuselage, wing, vertical and horizontal stabilizers, main landing gear, nose landing gear and all control surfaces. During this phase of the static load testing, the new advanced fly-by-wire flight-control system passed certification tests for proper operation while under the limit load condition. The limit load represents the maximum load the aircraft should experience during its life cycle. The G650 will be tested to ultimate load, which is 50 percent more than the limit load.

"As the test program continues, so, too, do our accomplishments," said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. "Completing the limit load structural testing is a key milestone that will allow flight testing at the maximum operating speeds of 340 KCAS and Mach 0.925 and to the maximum dive speeds of 385 KCAS and Mach 0.990. We're excited to reach this stage. On all fronts, the G650 is performing extremely well."

The G650 flight-test and certification plan involves five aircraft and an estimated 1,800 hours of testing. Each aircraft in the program is used for a specific series of tests, with serial number (S/N) 6001 focused on performance and flight controls, S/N 6002 on systems and S/N 6003 on avionics. The two production aircraft in the test program — S/N 6004 and S/N 6005 — will be used to evaluate interior systems and be part of the reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) testing.

S/N 6001, the original test article, kicked off the flight-test program with its first flight on Nov. 25, 2009. S/N 6002 followed on Feb. 25. As of mid-April, the two aircraft have completed nearly 50 flights and approximately 140 flight-test hours.

The three remaining test aircraft are in various degrees of completion. S/N 6003 has been turned over to the Flight Test department for outfitting in preparation for first flight, while 6004 and 6005 are in final production and major assembly, respectively.

"The state-of-the-art manufacturing processes we developed for this aircraft are making a definite difference in terms of build quality," said Dennis Stuligross, senior vice president, Operations, Gulfstream. "We have already witnessed enhanced quality and precision due in part to automation, modular manufacturing and advanced tooling."

Testing also continues in the G650 Integration Test Facility (ITF) at Gulfstream's Savannah headquarters. Engineers have been using the facility to integrate the software and hardware for the aircraft's systems and to perform the human-factors testing required for certification. In a Gulfstream first, the ITF also includes a full-size mock-up of the G650 cabin systems to support Gulfstream's Cabin EssentialTM design philosophy, which ensures that systems are designed with redundancy to prevent single-point failure.

The G650 offers the longest range at the fastest speed in its class. Powered by best-in-class Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, the business jet is capable of traveling 7,000 nautical miles (12,964 km) at Mach 0.85 and has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925.

Gulfstream announced the G650 program on March 13, 2008. On Sept. 29, 2009, the aircraft rolled out under its own power in front of a crowd of more than 7,000 people. It completed its first flight on Nov. 25, 2009, and remains on schedule for entry-into-service in 2012.

Press release issued by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation on May 3, 2010


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