Gulfstream Aerospace has announced that the G650 has passed structural load limit testing and has also reached its top speed of Mach 0.925, placing it well on track for entry into service in 2012.
The limit load testing was conducted on its primary structural components, including fuselage, wing, vertical and horizontal stabilisers, main landing gear, nose landing gear and all control surfaces. During the static load testing, the advanced fly-by-wire flight control system passed certification tests for proper operation while under the limit load condition. The limit load represents the maximum load the aircraft should experience during its life cycle.
The passing of the tests allowed the company on May 3 to conduct a flight test taking the aircraft to its maximum speed of MMO 0.925, which was conducted at 42,500ft after takeoff from its Savannah, Georgia facility.
“The G650 excelled at its top speed of Mach 0.925,” said Gulfstream’s chief test pilot John O’Meara. ”Even at near the speed of sound, the aircraft provides stable and precise handling characteristics. It’s very responsive to pilot input with fantastic manoeuvre capabilities. Turns can be initiated and completed without any onset of buffet. The engine performance is extremely smooth. At the conditions flown today, the entire operation was flawless.”
Gulfstream says the Mach 0.925 maximum speed makes the G650 “the world’s fastest transport category aircraft”.