Gulfstream announced an all-new aircraft family of business jets today: the G500 and G600. The two new planes optimize speed, wide-cabin comfort and efficiency to offer customers best-in-class performance with advanced safety features, and come with a stunning new touchscreen cockpit display by Honeywell.
G500 and G600 formation rendering. Image courtesy Gulfstream
Unlike the commercial plane manufacturers (Airbus, Boeing) who announce a plane and then spend up to a decade finalizing and testing a design, Gulfstream actually rolled out the first G500 today, and it performed a powered-up taxi for a crowd of about 3,000 people in Savannah, Georgia. A mockup of the G600 was also unveiled. At the event, General Dynamics chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic said:
"Today's announcement demonstrates the power of General Dynamics' consistent and disciplined investment in both Gulfstream's research and development and manufacturing facilities. The effect of that investment is manifest in the two airplanes we announced today."
The G500 can fly 5,000 nautical miles/9,260 kilometers at Mach 0.85 or 3,800 nm/7,038 km at Mach 0.90. The G600 is capable of traveling 6,200 nm/11,482 km at Mach 0.85 or 4,800 nm/8,890 km at Mach 0.90. The maximum operating speed for both aircraft is Mach 0.925, the same speed as Gulfstream's G650 and G650ER. Gulfstream president Larry Flynn said:
"This is another extraordinary day in the storied history of Gulfstream. I could not be more pleased to announce the next generation of Gulfstream aircraft. The G500 and G600 build upon the technology present in our G650 and our latest aircraft, the G650ER. Once again, our customers played a major role in the development and creation of these aircraft. The G500 and G600 continue the long Gulfstream tradition of being the first original equipment manufacturer to ensure an optimal combination of speed, range, wide-cabin comfort and fuel burn."
G500/G600 cabin. Image courtesy Gulfstream
The cabins of each of the new planes are 91 inches wide and 74 inches tall, and seat up to 19 people. Each plane has a forward and aft lavatory, and room for a full-size galley to prepare meals for those long-laul flights. Honeywell is providing its HGT400[G] auxiliary power unit, as well as its Environmental Control System, which enhances passenger comfort with a cabin altitude of only 4,850 feet, which boots mental alertness, and reduces the effects of jet lag.
Airport moving map (image courtesy Honeywell)
Honeywell has also made some huge contributions on the flight deck. Their SmartView Synthetic Vision increases safety and situational awareness, using the latest 3D color synthetic vision technologies. Touchscreen controllers allow pilots to actively adjust flight plans, run checklists and control various aircraft systems. 2-D and 3-D moving maps incorporate all runway and taxiway signage as well as airport structures, useful for pilots at unfamiliar airports during poor visibility conditions. The Traffic Information Cockpit Display (TIDS) shows locational information of nearby aircraft equipped with ADS-B.
Gulfstream capped off the debut today by announcing orders for the new planes. Qatar Airways has signed a memorandum of understanding, with the intent to purchase up to 20 of the G500 and Gulfstream's flagship aircraft, the G650ER. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al Baker said:
"Qatar Executive has been on an accelerated growth path since its inception and is held to an exceptional standard of quality that is widely known by our global clientele. In order to keep pace with the future strategic growth plans of our private jet division, the fleet is being expanded with aircraft that meet the needs of our guests, providing a wide range of options. Today's announcement of the Memorandum of Understanding for G650ERs and G500s signals a next step for Qatar Executive's relatively young and buoyant history."
Another big order came from Dallas-based FlexJet, a fractional ownership company. FlexJet ordered a combination of the G450, G500 and G650. In business since 1995, the company will be the North American launch customer of the G500.
The first flight of the G500 is scheduled for 2015. Gulfstream projects it will receive type certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency in 2017 and begin deliveries in 2018. The G600 flight-test program is expected to begin approximately 12 to 18 months after the G500's, and entry-into-service is projected to be in 2019.
Top image: G500/G600 flight deck. Image courtesy Honeywell