October 29, 2012
Credit: Credit: Gulfstream
Gulfstream is a few weeks away from delivering the first completed G650 and G280s, awaiting only the supplemental type certification approvals on the interior installations before handing over the first aircraft, company executives say.
The company obtained full type certification for its G650 in early September, one week after receiving similar approval for the G280. “We’re marching along smartly. …We’ll be delivering aircraft here within weeks,” says Jay Johnson, chairman of Gulfstream parent General Dynamics.
Gulfstream originally anticipated delivering 17 completed G650s before year’s end, but Johnson told analysts last week that he did not believe the company will reach that target. However, a number of both green and completed G650s lined the ramp at Gulfstream’s facility in Savannah, Ga., Oct. 26 as Gulfstream executives briefed reporters on the program. Gulfstream is still on pace to deliver 24 green G650s this year, and work on the production lines is nearing serial number 50.
Once in customers’ hands, the G650 will have performance specifications that are improved over those originally announced. Gulfstream has extended the range at the G650’s high-speed cruise at Mach 0.90 to 6,000 nm – 1,000 nm greater than originally promised. Gulfstream says this will open new city pairs such as Tokyo to New York, Moscow to Los Angeles and Shanghai to London at the higher speed. The 6,000-nm missions can be accomplished in under 12 hr., Gulfstream adds.
“The G650’s flight time for a 6,000-nm mission at Mach 0.90 would be 40 min. less than the same mission flown on a G550,” says Pres Henne, Gulfstream’s senior vice president for programs, engineering and test.
The maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.925 for the G650 makes it the fastest certified civilian aircraft in production. The aircraft, however, is expected to be dethroned from that title once Cessna brings its new Citation “Ten” to market next year. Cessna is promising a Mach 0.935 speed for that aircraft.
Gulfstream executives say there is room to up the speed of the G650 – which in test flights has come within a whisper of Mach 1 – but they stop short of saying they plan to boost it beyond the Ten. Steve Cass, director of sales, engineering and technical marketing for Gulfstream, adds there is a point of diminishing returns on pushing the speed envelope.
Speed, however, was a key factor in the aircraft’s design, Cass says, noting the “vast majority” of the input from the company’s customer advisory board was to build an aircraft that goes faster.
The company also is announcing improved balance field length – originally 6,000 ft., now 5,858 ft. Cass says the field length was also a particularly important factor to its advisory board, which stressed that the new aircraft must be able to go into the same airports as the G550.