G650 Completes First Flight

Gulfstream's latest widebody jet, the G650 flew for the first time last Wednesday afternoon. The flight was a short one, as a slight vibration originating with one of the landing gear doors led to a precautionary landing back at Savannah (Georgia) after 12 minutes. But Gulfstream still considers the flight a success, having reached an altitude of 6,600 feet and a maximum speed of 170 knots. "Systems were fully operational and flight controls and characteristics performed as expected," said Gulfstream Senior Vice President for Programs, Engineering and Test Pres Henne. The G650 is planned to have a top cruise speed of Mach .925; a range of 7,000 nautical miles at Mach .85 and a passenger capacity of up to 18. Certification and first deliveries are on schedule for late 2011 and early 2012, respectively.