According to Gulfstream, the G650 offers the longest range, fastest speed, largest cabin and most advanced cockpit in the Gulfstream fleet. The new model was unveiled in front of a crowd estimated by Gulfstream at about 7,000 people. It got as much applause as a tall, good looking model on a New York runway, maybe more considering what the project may mean for the local economy and the stability of jobs at Gulfstream.
The G650 is capable of traveling 7,000 nautical miles at 0.85 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.925, which will make it the fastest civil aircraft flying.
It can climb to an altitude of 51,000 feet, which allows it to avoid traffic and inclement weather.
Despite a recession and some tough times, the G650 represents faith in the future. “Gulfstream is the largest employer, with 6,000 employees in southeast Georgia,“ says Pres Henne, senior vice president of Programs, Engineering and Test. “Since1967, Gulstream has been a cornerstone of the local economy. The investment of 400 million dollars and the creation of an additional 1,500 jobs over the past three years represents an investment to the community by General Dynamics and by Gulfstream. With the introduction of the G650, that tradition continues.“
Joe Lombardo, executive vice president, General Dynamics Aerospace group says they have 200 orders for the new G650, which is expected to be tested and ready for service by 2012. “I think most of our customers seem to have confidence that things will be improved by then so making orders now,“ says Lombardo.
Lombardo says that last year the aerospace industry got a “bad rap” after some CEO’s flew in private jets to Washington to ask for federal aid for their companies. “The bad rap I think you would agree had died down substantially,“ he says. “This is the result of a lot of education on our part and the part of associations to make sure that people, including those in Congress, understand the number of jobs affected by general aviation.“
Lombardo says they as they ramp up the G650 line next year, they’ll look at what happens to the rate of productions for their existing products. “Then we’ll see whether or not we move people. We can’t say for sure now but our expectation would be to to the point where we would eventually be hiring people back.“
The aircraft seats 11-18 passengers and has 16 panoramic windows and in-flight access to 195 cubic feet of usable volume in the baggage compartment. A first flight is planned for later this year and it is expected to be certified in 2011.