Gulfstream G650 Sets Round-the-World Speed Record

Five pilots race around the globe in 41 hours.

Gulfstream has set an impressive world speed record in its new flagship G650, completing the fastest ever westbound, around-the-world flight for a non-supersonic airplane. A crew of five pilots circled the globe in 41 hours, 7 minutes, establishing a National Aeronautic Association-certified record.

On the journey, which took place in July, the G650 also claimed 22 city-pair speed records. The G650’s 20,310-nm around-the-world trip started and ended in San Diego, with stops in Guam, Dubai and Cape Verde. Each leg was flown at Mach 0.90, the standard high-speed cruise setting for the aircraft.

The record attempt kicked off at 9:08 p.m. local time on July 1, with the G650 leaving San Diego’s Brown Field Municipal Airport. After crossing most of the Pacific Ocean, the airplane landed at Guam International Airport in 10 hours, 29 minutes. The G650 covered the second leg — Guam to Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport in 10 hours; the third leg — Dubai to Cape Verde’s AmÍlcar Cabral International Airport — in 8 hours, 52 minutes; and the final leg — Cape Verde to Brown Field in San Diego — in 10 hours, 10 minutes. The cumulative ground time for the three refueling stops was approximately 1.5 hours.

“The aircraft performed flawlessly, which is what we expected,” said pilot-in-command Tom Horne. “It is a tremendous thrill to be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this.”

The flight crew consisted of Horne, Bud Ball, John McGrath, Ross Oetjen and Eric Parker. Each was on the aircraft for the duration of the flight. The G650 also carried Kris Maynard as the official observer for the NAA. The flight beat the previous record, set by a Gulfstream GIV, by more than four hours.

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