Gulfstream G600
Gulfstream’s newest entrant in the large-cabin business jet market is the G600, which shares many systems and features with the slightly shorter G500. FAA certification is expected soon. (Photo: Mark Wagner)

Gulfstream G600 Nears Certification

Gulfstream Aerospace wrapped certification flying for its ultra-long-range G600 on May 22 and was in the final throes of the paperwork for U.S. FAA certification in the days leading up to the Paris Air Show, according to the Savannah, Georgia manufacturer.

“Both certification and entry into service are just around the corner,” Gulfstream president Mark Burns reported recently.  By late last month, the G600 had undergone nearly 100,000 hours of research and development and amassed close to 3,200 hours in the air, he said, adding that the testing formula was used for the G500, proving to produce a mature aircraft.

Gulfstream completed the G600’s flight-into-known-icing (FIKI) trials in March and followed with function and reliability (F&R) testing in May. The G600 flight-test program accrued close to 850 flights since the first aircraft flew on Dec. 17, 2016. Along the way, the 6,500-nautical-mile-range aircraft has accumulated 11 city-pair speed records.

The G600 certification program has benefited from work accomplished with its sibling, the G500, which was certified in July 2018 and entered service in late September 2018. Since the 5,200-nautical-mile-range G500 has the same base type certificate as the G600, the latter shared much of the data for the former, particularly in the area of aircraft systems, said Catherine Downen, director of advanced programs, G600. But the G500 and G600 have different wings, which necessitated separate aerodynamics testing, she said.

Everything is ready to go on the production certificate, Downen said, adding that the company anticipated that coming as certification is granted. Gulfstream was awarded type certification and production approval for the G500 on the same day.

Entry-into-service work also includes flying a fully outfitted model to test all the interior systems at altitude. Two simulators are in place with FlightSafety International for the G500. Since the G500 and G600 have identical flight decks, the simulators can be shared.

Aircraft Similarities

Both models are equipped with the Honeywell Primus Epic–based Gulfstream Symmetry flight deck with touchscreen displays and fly-by-wire with active-control sidesticks. Colin Miller, newly appointed senior vice president of innovation, engineering, and flight, said the G500/G600 program also benefited from the Gulfstream G650 fly-by-wire technology. Calling the system on the G650 a big step forward, Miller added, “The flight controls and the way we did that set the stage for partnering…with the sidestick.”

Both are equipped with a head-up display and enhanced vision system (EVS), and the G500 was the first in the Gulfstream lineup and the first-ever aircraft to receive approval to land using EVS, according to Gulfstream. They both will be certified for steep approaches. Gulfstream recently gained that approval for its flagship G650 family.

The G500 is equipped with 15,144-pound-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814G engines, while the G600 has 15,680-pound-thrust PW815GA engines. Both have an MMO of Mach 0.925, the same as the G650.

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A primary difference between the G500 and G600 is cabin length. Both can be fitted for 19 passengers and cabins that are six feet two inches high and seven feet, seven inches wide. But the 600 has a 45-foot, two-inch cabin length, while the 500 has a cabin that is 41 feet, 6 inches long.

While Gulfstream awaits initial certification of the G600, it also has been nearing a European nod for the G500. Deliveries to European customers are anticipated to start shortly thereafter, but shipments have already begun internationally, with Qatar Airways taking delivery of two of the aircraft at the end of 2018, joining the five Gulfstream G650ERs already in service with the airline’s charter business unit, Qatar Executive. The Qatar Civil Aviation Authority validated the G500 in October.

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