Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. has announced that the fourth Gulfstream G500 test aircraft, T4, has completed its first flight and officially joined the G500 flight-test program.
The G500 took off from the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport at 9:47 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, with Flight Test pilots Eric Holmberg and Brian Dickerson at the controls. Flight Test engineers Dominic Pompeo and Mark Mondt provided on-board test and data analysis.
The aircraft climbed to a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet/15,545 meters and reached a maximum airspeed of 340 KCAS/Mach 0.925. During the 3-hour and 17-minute flight, the crew exercised all primary flight control systems, performed functional checks of air data and cabin pressurization systems and completed a series of engine performance measures. The aircraft landed back in Savannah at 1:04 p.m. local time.
“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,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. “To have four first flights and more than 580 flight hours in just nine months is quite an accomplishment.”
T4’s first flight represents a milestone in the aircraft’s development program. For the first time, Gulfstream has integrated a team of Product Support maintenance technicians with the Flight Test team to follow the aircraft through manufacturing and flight testing.
“The collaboration between Product Support and Flight Test throughout the G500 certification process will ultimately enhance the support available to operators when the aircraft enters service,” Burns said. “This dedicated service team reflects Gulfstream’s commitment to continuous improvement and ensures we deliver on our promises to customers.”
The integrated team performed all the modifications and testing required to prepare the aircraft for first flight and will continue to lead it through testing in support of Federal Aviation Administration type certification in 2017.
One of five G500 aircraft involved in the flight-test program, T4 will be used to test avionics, flammable fluid drainage, water ingestion and select systems (water/waste, lighting, fire protection). It will also perform flight standardization and operations evaluations. T1 is focused on envelope expansion; T2, on flight loads validation as well as aircraft performance and systems testing; and T3, on the all-new System Flight DeckTM.
The fifth aircraft, P1, has been delivered to the Savannah Completions Center, where it will become a fully outfitted production aircraft that will be used to test the interior elements as well as the integration of aircraft systems with the passenger experience.