Gulfstream this morning revealed the company’s future direction with the official unveiling of a new family of technologically sophisticated business jets, the clean-sheet G500 and G600 models.
Resembling the flagship G650 in outward appearance, the new airplanes feature a long list of surprising changes and improvements inside and out. Both will fly with versions of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW800 turbofan engine family, a major change for Gulfstream after decades in partnership with Rolls-Royce. Gulfstream also announced that both airplanes will feature wings built by Gulfstream in Savannah, Georgia, Honeywell Symmetry avionics with 10 integrated touchscreens spread throughout the flight deck, and active-control sidesticks instead of traditional yokes. Perhaps most important of all, both will also incorporate the same huge oval windows that are a signature hallmark of the G650.
The really big surprise at the unveiling of the fly-by-wire jets in Savannah, Georgia, came when General Dynamics chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic and Gulfstream president Larry Flynn stepped aside to reveal the first in-the-flesh G500, which taxied up under its own power outside the new factory to the raucous applause of more than 3,000 employees and invited guests.
Flynn stressed that the Gulfstream G500 and G600 are new additions to the company’s product portfolio that won’t replace the G450 and G550. Both will carry up to 19 passengers and have the same cabin cross section at 91 inches wide and 74 inches tall. Cabin altitude will be 4,850 feet at FL 510, the same as the G650 and among the best in the bizjet industry.
Max speed in both models is targeted at Mach 0.925, also the same as the G650. The G500 will have a max range of 5,000 nm, while the G600’s max range is targeted at 6,200 nm.
Gulfstream has built two new factories for the airplanes, each with more than 400,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The company is targeting the G500’s first flight for sometime next year, with certification planned for 2017 and first deliveries in 2018. First flight of the G600, meanwhile, is planned for 2017, with certification in 2018 and initial deliveries 2019.
Projected completed price for the G500 is $43.5 million while the G600 will sell for $54.5 million. Launch customers for the new models are Qatar Airways and fractional provider Flexjet.
Look for a full report on Gulfstream’s progress with the G500 and G600 in the December issue of Flying.
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