The all-new Gulfstream G500 completed its first flight on May 18, taking off from the Savannah–Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga., where the manufacturer is based. Two test pilots and an engineer flew for more than two hours, checking all of the flight-control systems and avionics and simulating a missed approach and go-around. A total of five airplanes will be used in the flight-test program—including one with a fully outfitted cabin—to enable the crews to test all aircraft functions and ensure that all the cabin systems are fully integrated into the passenger experience.
The G500 can fly at speeds up to about 680 mph and it has a range of about 5,700 miles (at a cruising speed of 650 mph). The cabin measures more than 41 feet long, nearly 8 feet across, and more than 6 feet high—plenty of room for up to 18 passengers, although it is usually configured for 8 to 10, with berthing for up to 8. The interior pressure never rises above that of a 4,850-foot altitude, to help reduce the effect of jet lag. The cockpit is equipped with an all-new Symmetry flight deck, based on Honeywell Primus Epic avionics, that features active-control sidesticks, integrated touchscreens, and a next-generation enhanced-vision system. First deliveries of the jet are expected in 2018; it sells for $43.5 million. (gulfstream.com)