Three and a half years after a powered roll-out event, Gulfstream says the G500 remains on track to complete a two-year-old certification programme on schedule by the end of the year.
The four-aircraft strong G500 test fleet, along with the first production aircraft, have accumulated 2,900 flight hours over 745 flights over the past two years, says Dan Nale, Gulfstream’s senior vice-president of programmes, engineering and test.
The G500 test fleet is now involved in functional and reliability testing, which is typically one of the last steps in the certification process. It involves flying a production-representative aircraft through a gauntlet of typical operational missions to prove to the US Federal Aviation Administration that the aircraft and onboard systems are reliable enough to enter service.
In a powerful demonstration of the G500’s maturity, Gulfstream reprised Charles Lindbergh’s historic transatlantic crossing on the 90th anniversary last week. Unlike Lindbergh’s 33.5h flight, the G500 managed the crossing in a record-breaking 6h and 21min as a subsonic business jet, Nale says, while cruising at Mach 0.90 at 45,000ft.
The G500 is the first Gulfstream aircraft – and the first in the business aviation segment – to feature fly-by-wire flight controls coupled to active control sidesticks, providing a new level of situational awareness in the cockpit along with flight envelope protections.