Gulfstream G500/G600 Performance Better Than Expected

Aircraft deliver long range at high speeds.

Gulfstream G500
Gulfstream revealed at a special media event that the performance of its G500/G600 aircraft is better than expected.Rob Mark

There are times when breaking a promise isn’t as bad as it sounds at first, like when a company delivers a product or service that outperforms expectations. Gulfstream’s been on the road the past few weeks telling people the new G500/G600 series of airplanes will fly further and faster than the company than originally planned, delivering improvements that represent some sizable numbers. The pair of new Gulfstreams also incorporate trailing link landing gear.

Some 50 members and guests of the Chicago Area Business Aviation Association last week had an opportunity to closely inspect the G600 during a half-day visit to Hawthorne Global Aviation Services hangar at Chicago Executive Airport. At the NBAA convention in Las Vegas a few weeks earlier, visits were on an appointment basis only.

Gulfstream originally quoted the G600’s range of 6,200 nm at Mach 0.85. By delivery time next year, the company says that same speed will carry eight people 6,500 nm, or about five percent further than originally planned. Surprisingly too, pushing the throttles nearly up to the firewall for Mach 0.90 will carry those same eight people 5,100 nm or nearly eight percent more than the original design.

The slightly shorter cabin G500 numbers were always impressive at Mach 0.85. The original design called for a 5,000-nm range with eight passengers. The new numbers show 5,200 nm at the same speed. Again, pushing the throttles up on the G500 seems to be a power setting the airplane craves. The original design range at the higher speed was 3,800 nm, but now shows the longest distance at top speed as 4,400 nm. That’s a difference of about 18 percent.

Gulfstream G500
The original G500 design called for a 5,000-nm range with eight passengers. The new numbers show 5,200 nm at the same speed.Rob Mark

While aiming at a city-pair record, Gulfstream flew the G500 to Las Vegas from London against a 32-knot headwind, completing the 4,690-nm trip at Mach 0.88

The naysayers of course will claim the numbers were a bit of smoke and mirrors to begin with, understating early on to be able to overstate the airplane’s performance now. When pressed with that question, the company’s director of corporate communication Heidi Fedak said, “Gulfstream’s culture of continuous improvement can be credited for the extended range of the G500 and G600 as well as for the G650 and other aircraft. As you’ve heard, we have a rigorous and disciplined design process. Our design philosophy calls for us to include a certain amount of margin. During flight testing, the aircraft often exceed the additional margin built in. As a result, we are able to extend the ranges.”

Customers will find the added performance comes at the same regular price of $45.1 M for a G500 and $56.2 M for a G600. An escalation clause might bump the prices slightly by delivery time the company says.