Gulfstream's second G650 test article, known as the T2, completed its first flight at the end of February.
Taking off from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, the aircraft flew for over 2.5 h, reaching an altitude of 37,000 ft and a speed of Mach 0.80 before landing back in Savannah.
In what Gulfstream describes as a company first, both G650 flight-test aircraft, the T2 and T1, were airborne simultaneously and were tracked by dual telemetry facilities in real time.
Focuses during the initial tests are on its integrated flight-control system and handling. Gulfstream plans to make six flights to assess basic system functionality before proceeding to more intensive testing. The flight-control system has been in development for five years.
Overall, the G650 flight-test and certification plan involves five aircraft and an estimated 1800 h of testing. Each aircraft is used for a specific series of tests, with T1 focused on performance and flight controls, T2 on systems, and T3 on avionics.
Honeywell is providing some of those avionics for the new full three-axis fly-by-wire business jet, including its Primus Epic integrated avionics system with the SmartView synthetic vision system as standard. Additional systems include the first business jet application of Honeywell’s most advanced weather radar system available, IntuVue, the RE-220 auxiliary power unit, environmental control system, air turbine starter, MCS-7120 satellite communications system, and new standby indicator.
Two test aircraft still in production, P1 and P2, will be used to evaluate interior systems and reduced vertical separation minimums, respectively.
As of the T2's first flight, the T1 had completed 18 flights over more than 43 h. The aircraft reached a maximum speed of Mach 0.90 and a top altitude of 47,000 ft. Test pilots are progressively opening the flight envelope in conjunction with load testing of a ground-test airframe designated S6.
The G650 is said to offer "the longest range at the fastest speed in its class," with the ability to connect Dubai with New York City. It is powered by Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, which are based on the BR700 engine core and uses swept fan technology from Trent engines. The engine produces 16,000 lb of thrust at takeoff.
Gulfstream announced the G650 program in March 2008. The first aircraft rolled out under its own power in September 2009, and it completed its first flight in November 2009. It remains on schedule for entry-into-service in 2012. The company expects to receive concurrent G650 certification from the FAA and EASA in 2011.