Gulfstream’s G500 takes flight

The first flight of the G500 takes off at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. (Gulfstream)
The first flight of the G500 takes off at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. (Gulfstream)

Gulfstream’s newest business jet the G500 has successfully completed its maiden flight.

G500 test aircraft N500GA took off from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport at 1039 local time on May 18 and was in the air for two hours and 16 minutes, Gulfstream said in a statement.

Gulfstream experimental test pilots Scott Martin and Kevin Claffy and flight test engineer Bill Osborne took the G500 to a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet or 4,572 metres, and flew the aircraft at a maximum air speed of 194 knots.

“The crew exercised all primary flight control systems; evaluated handling qualities in takeoff and landing configurations; performed a simulated approach and go-around; and checked all systems using the Symmetry flight deck touchscreen controllers,” Gulfstream said.

The Gulfstream G500, which seats up to 18 people, had a range of 9,260km and a cruising speed of Mach 0.9, was launched in October 2014 alongside sister-ship the G600.

The company said about 34,000 hours of ground testing has been completed before the May 18 first flight.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA engines which power the G500 received certification from Transport Canada in February.

Gulfstream planned to have five aircraft for the G500’s flight test program, including a fully outfitted production aircraft.

The Savannah-based company was expecting to receive type certification for G500 from the US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency in 2017, with entry-into-service planned for the following year.