Estimated reading time 5 minutes, 3 seconds.
Gulfstream President Mark Burns opened his EBACE 2022 press conference by discussing a recent low altitude control anomaly experienced in a G500 during landing in gusty winds. A similar incident occurred several years ago, and Gulfstream’s investigation determined the cause to be the same.
A resulting “fix” was developed that will involve reprogramming the control software and will limit the effects of extreme pitch inputs in similar conditions. The effect of these changes for Gulfstream as a company means that the certification of its new flagship, the G700, will be delayed between three to six months, as revealed in a recent earnings call.
Burns asserts that much of the cause for the delay is the new FAA process of evaluating the software. “We are the first to go through this and it’s a learning process,” he stated. “We agree that it will make a safer, more robust airplane once completed.”
The delay is also due to the software from the affected aircraft, a G500, which is similar to that in the G600 and G700, requiring modifications to each of those models. The G700 certification process is anticipated to be completed by Q3 2022, with deliveries beginning shortly after.
Burns pointed out that since 2008, Gulfstream has debuted eight new aircraft, striving towards a goal of an all-new family of jets. That family of planes includes the following updates:
Planned as a replacement for the G650ER, the G800 was announced in late 2021. Two aircraft have been built with flight testing to commence later this year. Customer deliveries are expected in 2023, at which time it will be the longest-range business jet in production.
A second, fully outfitted test model of the G700 will be completed later this year. It will join S/N 1 in progressing through the certification process. Aircraft #1, which is on display at EBACE, set yet another speed record while en route to Geneva. Entry into service was expected by the end of 2022 but the software delays will likely push that into 2023.
With more than 480 650/650ERs in service and with over 120 city-pair speed records, the G650ER the high-speed value leader, according to Gulfstream. The popularity of the model, along with recent increased demand, mean that additional examples will continue to be manufactured, even as the G800 comes online.
The leaders in high-speed efficiency have more than 120 examples in service worldwide with no sign of demand waning anytime soon.
The other model unveiled by Gulfstream at its event in late 2021, the G400 has its first testbed in production. The company expects it to be best-in-class for range (4,200 nautical miles), speed (Mach .85), cabin size, and technology when it enters service in 2025.
Like the G650ER, the G280 has seen a resurgence in popularity. Over 230 of the super-midsize category leader are in the hands of customers with the recent demand increase assuring it will stay in the Gulfstream catalog for the time being.
Gulfstream is upping its commitment to customer support with three new or expanded service centers in Farnborough, U.K., Mesa, Arizona, and Fort Worth, Texas.