Gulfstream G500 performs first flight

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, today announced that the all-new Gulfstream G500 successfully completed its first flight. The G500 is part of Gulfstream’s new family of clean-sheet aircraft, the G500 and G600, and the first of the two to begin flight tests.

The G500 took off at 10:39 a.m. May 18 from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, with Gulfstream experimental test pilots Scott Martin and Kevin Claffy at the controls. Flight Test engineer Bill Osborne provided on-board support.

The aircraft climbed to an initial altitude of 10,500 feet/3,200 meters and reached a maximum altitude of 15,000 ft/4,572 m. During the 2-hour-and-16-minute flight, 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 SymmetryTM flight deck touchscreen controllers. The aircraft achieved a maximum air speed of 194 knots. It landed back in Savannah at 12:55 p.m. local time. 

“The successful first flight of N500GA represents the tremendous investments we have made in the G500 program,” said Dan Nale, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “We have achieved this milestone thanks to Gulfstream’s world-class research and development teams and our commitment to setting new standards for business aviation.”

Years before this first flight, Gulfstream established four labs dedicated to the G500 program:

  • A Conceptual Advanced Simulation Environment to develop fly-by-wire control laws and perform human factors evaluations
  • A systems integration bench to integrate the avionics and aircraft systems with the aircraft’s Data Concentration Network
  • A full flight deck integration test facility to evaluate major avionic and aircraft systems and software
    • The ITF also includes an outfitted cabin to test the galley, the Gulfstream Cabin Management System and other interior elements
  • And an iron bird — a spatially correct, dimensionally accurate structure, including the flight deck, used to rigorously evaluate the fly-by-wire flight controls, hydraulics, electrical systems and landing gear

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