The second Gulfstream G650–known as test article two, or T2 for short–completed its maiden flight from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga., at 12:50 p.m. last Thursday. T2 was piloted by senior Gulfstream experimental test pilots Gary Freeman and Scott Buethe, who took the second wide-cabin, ultra-long-range G650 on a two-hour and 33 minute initial jaunt from Gulfstream’s Savannah headquarters.
The first production models of Gulfsteam’s two newest business jets are proceeding down their respective assembly lines, both heading toward type certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Safety Agency in 2011, Gulfstream division vice president for international sales Roger Sperry said Tuesday.
International Water-Guard has marked some highlight events recently, among them delivery of its 2,000th water treatment unit (for installation in a Dassault 2000LX) and delivery of the first of the new IWG-A6 unit to Gulfstream Aerospace for the new G650.
In a conference call with analysts yesterday, General Dynamics president and CEO Jay Johnson summarized full-year and fourth-quarter results for the defense and aerospace manufacturing conglomerate. Overall, sales climbed 9.2 percent over 2008, to nearly $32 billion, “driven entirely by our defense businesses,” he said. This growth was offset by a 6.2-percent decline in aerospace revenue during 2009 versus 2008.
In late December, the FAA granted type approval for Rolls-Royce’s BR725 turbofan, which powers the Gulfstream G650. The certification covers a thrust rating of 16,100 pounds and follows EASA certification in June. The G650 flight-test program has been under way since November 25, and Gulfstream expects the ultra-long-range wide-cabin business jet to enter service in 2012.
The wide-cabin Gulfstream G650 resumed flight testing on December 4, following the November 25 maiden flight of the first test aircraft (T1). That flight was cut short at 12 minutes due to “slight vibrations” in one of the gear doors. Although the initial flight from Savannah (Ga.) International Airport was expected to last about an hour, Gulfstream called the abbreviated test run a complete success.
Savannah Air Center will change its name to Midcoast Aviation effective January 1. The Savannah, Ga.-based company was acquired by Jet Aviation in 2008, two years after Jet Aviation acquired Midcoast Aviation in St. Louis, as part of the company’s effort to strengthen its completions, modification and maintenance services in North America.
A shell-shocked business aviation industry is peeking out from behind the bulwarks and wondering if the lull in gunfire signals the beginning of an end to the battle.
“Flying has picked up again in a meaningful way, which is a good sign for everybody,” said Steve O’Neill, CEO of CitationAir, which announced last month it would be recalling 16 furloughed pilots and accepting its first two Citation Xs by the end of the year.
Effective January 1 Savannah Air Center will be named Midcoast Aviation. In the U.S., Midcoast Aviation will now operate two completions and maintenance centers (St. Louis and Savannah). In an effort to strengthen its completions, modification and maintenance services in North America, Jet Aviation acquired Midcoast Aviation in 2006 and, in 2008, Savannah Air Center.
Gulfstream Aerospace and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) flew the G250 super-midsize business jet for the first time today, fulfilling a promise made earlier this year to fly the airplane before the end of 2009. The milestone completes Gulfstream’s goal to fly both its completely new G650 ultra-long-range jet and the G250, which is a derivative of the G200 (the former IAI Galaxy), before year-end.