Gulfstream G650 Flight Testing Resumes Two Months After Fatal Crash

G650 on track for 2011 certification despite delay.



G650 test flight

Gulfstream has resumed flight testing of its G650 business jet nearly two months after the crash of a test aircraft during takeoff at Roswell, New Mexico, that killed all four Gulfstream employees on board.

“We have conducted all the necessary reviews to assure ourselves that we can safely resume the flight-test program at this point,” Pres Henne, Gulfstream’s senior vice president of Programs, Engineering and Test, said in a company press release.

The first G650 flight since the fatal April 2nd accident took place last weekend, with two Gulfstream test pilots and one flight-test engineer remaining in the air for about an hour and a half.

In its announcement of the recent test flight, Gulfstream gave no further information about the April accident, which sent shock waves throughout the aviation community. Gulfstream voluntarily suspended flight testing after the crash, which occurred when one of the test G650 jets tipped its wing during a simulated engine failure on takeoff and subsequently burst into flames. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the accident.

Despite the testing delay, Gulfstream still anticipates the G650 will receive FAA certification in 2011 and enter into service during 2012, as originally scheduled. The company’s flagship business jet has been tested in 470 flights to date and has accumulated 1,560 total test-flight hours. Gulfstream will use the four remaining G650s in its test-fleet to reach the expected 2,200 hours needed for certification.