A fourth aircraft has joined the flight test program for Gulfstream’s newest business jet the G500.
The company said test aircraft T4, N504GS, had its maiden flight on on Saturday (US time), taking off from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport at 0947, returning three hours and 17 minutes later.
On board the business jet were test pilots Eric Holmberg and Brian Dickerson, who took the aircraft to 51,000 feet and a maximum airspeed of Mach 0.925. They also exercised all primary flight control systems, performed functional checks of air data and cabin pressurization systems and completed a series of engine performance measures, Gulfstream said in a statement.
The fourth of five test aircraft for the G500 is being used to used to test avionics, flammable fluid drainage, water ingestion and select systems (water/waste, lighting, fire protection), Gulfstream said, as well as flight standardisation and operations evaluations.
“The first flight of T4 speaks to the growing maturity of the G500 flight-test program and the significant development we completed before we even launched flight test in May 2015,” Gulfstream president Mark Burns said in a statement.
“To have four first flights and more than 580 flight hours in just nine months is quite an accomplishment.”
The first G500 test aircraft, T1, had its first flight in May 2015. Since then, the aircraft has been flown at Mach 0.999 and 53,000 feet, with the longest flight lasting about five hours, Gulfstream said recently.
A further two test aircraft, T2 and T3, had their first flight in November 2015, with T2 recently completing climate chamber testing the at McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. T3 is being used to test the aircraft’s new flight deck, as well as ice-protection systems, landing gear and nose wheel steering operation, environmental control systems, cabin pressure control systems and community noise testing.
Gulfstreams said the fifth aircraft, which is being fitted with a full cabin to look at the integration of aircraft systems and the passenger experience, was recently delivered to the Savannah Completions Center.
The G500, which seats up to 19 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 aircraft was scheduled to receive type certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency in 2017, with entry into service planned for 2018.