Meeting Milestones, Exceeding Expectations

aviation, g600, g500
Written By Dan Nale

This summer marked a Gulfstream milestone.

For the first time in our nearly 60-year history, we had nine new aircraft in flight test simultaneously.

And in August, we made it 10, with five aircraft flying in the Gulfstream G500 program and five in the Gulfstream G600.

Despite appearances to the contrary, this is no easy feat. The successful execution of a flight-test program requires patience, persistence, planning and a powerhouse team that has everyone from suppliers to employees to the certifying authorities pulling in the same direction.

Gulfstream, with the backing of our parent company General Dynamics, has invested significant resources in ensuring we have a strong foundation upon which to build successful aircraft programs. It starts with solid strategic planning, ensuring that even in the face of challenging economic circumstances and market uncertainty, we remain committed to our long-term vision.

In 2008, when we announced the G650 and G280, we already had our eyes on the future, toiling steadily behind the scenes to develop what would become the next generation of Gulfstream aircraft. While other manufacturers were delaying and canceling programs, we remained committed, methodically marching through milestones large and small to ensure we—and our customers—would be well-positioned when the market recovered.

The G500 and G600 will deliver technological advances heretofore unheard of in business aviation, including the first civilian application of active control sidesticks and the most thorough integration of touch screens in an aircraft flight deck to date.

To bring that leading edge technology to market required a significant investment in our ground-based labs, which offer the highest level of fidelity and accuracy in the aerospace industry. It also involved creating a learning environment focused on exploration, innovation and continuous improvement.

While other manufacturers were delaying and canceling programs, we remained committed, methodically marching through milestones large and small.

We’re not the only ones benefitting from our investments. In addition to advancing technology of Gulfstream aircraft for our customers, those ground-based labs and the employees who lead them have allowed us to collaborate with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to improve safety and streamline flight testing of new aircraft. This effort will positively impact how certification programs are accomplished, once again setting the world standard in business aviation.

This Flight Test Efficiency Initiative is expected to create a new benchmark for FAA certification testing of highly integrated aircraft, such as the G500 and G600. As Gulfstream President Mark Burns wrote in his Ready for Takeoff column in this issue, we all have an obligation to use our words and actions to advocate for the industry as a whole. And that’s what we’ve done.

We’re certainly proud to have 10 aircraft in flight test. But it’s not the number that counts. It’s what you do with them. The efficiency in flight testing we have gained as a result of collaborating with the FAA speaks to Gulfstream’s culture of continuous improvement. We are committed to delivering on our promises, exceeding your expectations, and advocating for our industry.

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