By Karen Di Piazza
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, unveiled its new G650 business jet on March 14. The aircraft manufacturer, headquartered in Savannah, Ga., said its new twin-engine jet is a clean-sheet design. With first deliveries of the G650 to begin in 2012, a Gulfstream spokesperson said the initial price of the G650 would be $58.5 million.
Gulfstream expects to have full type certification on the G650 from the Federal Aviation Administration and validation by the European Aviation Safety Authority in 2011. The company said the G650 is capable of flying 7,000 nautical miles at Mach 0.85 or 5,000 nautical miles at Mach 0.90. Using its advanced aerodynamic design, the G650 would be able to reach a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925, making it the fastest civil aircraft available.
With a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet, the G650 will be able to fly above commercial airline traffic and adverse weather. The aircraft’s advanced environmental control system features quieter air distribution and independently vented lavatories. Gulfstream said the G650’s 16 newly designed cabin windows, measuring 28 inches by 20.5 inches, are the largest in the industry. The aircraft’s unfinished aircraft cabin measures 102 inches wide and 77 inches high, making it the largest business-jet cabin, with the extra space allowing for a longer living area, more seat recline, expanded legroom and increased stateroom capabilities.
The G650 will accommodate larger galleys, lavatories, storage compartments and crew rest areas. An 84-inch-wide floor makes room for bigger seats, wider aisles and the ability to seat three across. Because the G650’s cockpit has the same basic layout as the G550, pilot type rating for the G650 is expected to be the same as the GV and its other in-production, large-cabin business jets, with minimal differences in training.
Gulfstream considers its new G650 the company’s flagship jet—the largest, most technologically advanced aircraft in its fleet.
“This is an exciting time in Gulfstream’s history,” said Joe Lombardo, president of Gulfstream. “For 50 years, our company has been on the forefront of business jet aviation. I can think of no better way to celebrate our golden anniversary than to introduce the Gulfstream G650.”
He said the G650 offers the most advanced flight deck and the widest array of cabin comforts.
“Its performance and aesthetics are unprecedented,” he said.
Lombardo said Gulfstream’s cabin design philosophy means all the aircraft’s major cabin systems have been designed with redundancy. For instance, a single-point failure won’t result in the loss of cabin functionality.
“That means a toilet always flushes, water is always available and an entertainment source always works,” Lombardo said.
The aircraft features a PlaneView II cockpit, which has a number of enhancements. It has four 14-inch, adaptive, liquid-crystal displays; three standard PlaneBook computer tablets; a smaller pedestal; and a standby multifunction controller that combines current display controller functionality with standby flight instruments. Additionally, the system has fully automatic, three-dimensional scanning weather radar with an integral terrain database for efficient ground-clutter elimination.
The G650’s state-of-the-art vision systems improve both pilot situational awareness and flight safety, according to Gulfstream. Standard systems include Gulfstream’s Enhanced Vision System, the synthetic vision/primary flight display system and head-up display.
Gulfstream said it’s the first Part 25 original equipment manufacturer to provide its customers with both enhanced and synthetic vision systems. Kollsman, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins are major suppliers to Gulfstream for these systems.
The company said that the EVS and SV-PFD provide pilots with a superior view of the terrain, obstacles and approaches, regardless of the weather conditions outside the cockpit. EVS uses a forward-looking infrared camera that captures real-world images and projects them on the pilot’s all-digital HUD II, while the SV-PFD uses three-dimensional, color terrain images derived from data stored in Honeywell’s Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System.
“The Gulfstream G650 uses state-of-the-art avionics to give operators a visual edge,” said Pres Henne, Gulfstream’s senior vice president of programs, engineering and testing. “But the G650’s advances extend beyond the cockpit. Every element of this aircraft was designed with safety, reliability, comfort, productivity and performance in mind.”
The aircraft, powered by new Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, produces 16,100 pounds of thrust at takeoff and has a 50-inch swept fan with 24 blades for improved flow, increased efficiency, reduced noise and lower emissions. Gulfstream said the G650 has fuel-burn levels comparable to those of smaller aircraft.
The BR725, in concert with a new, high-efficiency thrust-reverser system and an all-new aerodynamically optimized wing, allows the G650 to meet the latest takeoff certification requirements. The aircraft, said the company, has “excellent hot and high” performance. For example, the G650 can travel 6,370 nautical miles from Dubai to Chicago 88 minutes faster than existing long-range jets.
The plane maker said it shaves 31 minutes off the 4,788-nautical-mile trip from Los Angeles to London and 50 minutes off the 5,932-nm trip from New York to Tokyo.
The G650 will use a redundant fly-by-wire system that exceeds certification requirements; it has a quadruple-redundant flight-control computer for commanding all flight-control surfaces. Gulfstream said the system has a separate and dedicated back-up flight-control computer that provides an additional level of safety.
The aircraft will be produced in Savannah at Gulfstream’s recently completed 308,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. The G650’s fuselage has a new structural design and manufacturing process, which employs bonded skin panels, machined frames and precision assembly. The company said its new methods reduce assembly time and the need for an extensive parts supply. For example, the G650’s new window design is 16 percent larger but uses 78 percent fewer parts, which reduces assembly time 57 percent.
“It’s thrilling to see how far we’ve come since that day 50 years ago when the first Gulfstream I prototype took to the skies,” Lombardo said. “We were the first then and we’re still the first now.”
He added that Gulfstream would continue to make aviation history, using cutting-edge advances that revolutionize the business jet industry.
For more information, visit [http://www.gulfstream.com].