One thousand to go,” Brian Dickerson called from the right seat. I confirmed with a nod while also holding up my index finger. Hand-flying the airplane in the upper flight levels and still climbing smartly, I began adding just a tiny bit of forward pressure on the G500’s sidestick to arrest our climb at FL 470 under a brilliant blue sky over northern Florida. We’d decided to head toward Tampa for our evaluation flight after Jacksonville Center told us airline snowbird traffic along the East Coast was too intense to allow even one more jet into its airspace, especially one like ours that might have a few special airspace requests. The direction in which we headed was of little importance to me. Leveling at 47,000 feet, I realized the days of scrambling and schedule changing needed to accept Gulfstream’s invitation to fly its newest fly-by-wire business airplane had all been worthwhile. The G500, Gulfstream’s first airplane to use active fly-by-wire digital sidesticks in place of a traditional control wheel, is expected to be fully certified by early summer, perhaps even as you read this. The airplane’s noncertified status was confirmed each time Dickerson, Gulfstream’s chief demo pilot and my right-seat mentor, checked in on the radio using the “Experimental 505GD” callsign. Scott Evans, Gulfstream’s director of demonstration and corporate flight operations and our jump-seat pilot, said that because of the Experimental status, most, but not everything, I would experience in the demo aircraft would translate into the airplanes now rolling off the assembly line at the manufacturer’s Savannah, Georgia, base. At present, the seventh G500 is being completed. Gulfstream announced the all-new digital aircraft in October 2014 and flew it for the first time about six months later. Launch customers for the G500 are Qatar Airways internationally and fractional-ownership provider Flexjet in North America.