Gulfstream's fifth G700 flight test aircraft has taken flight, three weeks after the fourth G700 flew for the first time.
“The G700 flight-test programme is progressing exceptionally well,” says company president Mark Burns. “Every day, we come closer to our goal of delivering this revolutionary aircraft to our customers. We are steadily increasing flights, flight hours and the completion of numerous company tests, further raising the bar for business aviation around the world.”
The fifth test aircraft took off and flew for three hours and eight minutes, reaching an altitude of 48,000 ft and a top speed of Mach 0.935. This aircraft will focus largely on testing avionics.
Since the first G700 flight on 14 February, Gulfstream has made progress in company flight testing including cold-weather at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida; flutter; aerodynamic stalls; and envelope expansion. The aircraft has also flown beyond its maximum operating speed and cruise altitude, reaching Mach 0.99 and an altitude of 54,000 ft. In typical operations, the G700 has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925 and a maximum cruise altitude of 51,000 ft.
Gulfstream is also streamlining and modernising its customer service and support experiences by leveraging new and expanded facilities throughout its network. This facility optimisation is the next step in a series of long-range facility modernisation investments the OEM launched in 2019 with the construction of the Van Nuys service centre in California and the expansion of its Savannah, Georgia and Appleton, Wisconsin facilities. The company also built new, more modern facilities in Palm Beach, Florida and Farnborough, England, and announced plans to build a new service centre in the Fort Worth area.
As part of the effort, the company will close its Long Beach location, moving the service work to Gulfstream Van Nuys and the completions work to Savannah and Appleton. Long-term workforce expansions are planned for all three locations.
“We have made significant investments to modernise and strategically expand our operational capabilities in both our manufacturing and service networks,” says Burns. “By leveraging these newer, more modern locations and synergies across the network, we can further enhance the overall experience for our customers, whether they're taking delivery of a new aircraft or scheduling service.”
Long Beach will experience a phased closure over the next six months as work shifts to the other locations. To maintain continuity of service and retain the extensive technical talent of its Long Beach workforce, Gulfstream is offering those employees the opportunity to apply for positions elsewhere in the company with a focus on Van Nuys, Savannah and Appleton.
Located 45 miles from Long Beach, the Gulfstream Van Nuys facility is approximately 66,000 sq ft in size, which includes approximately 43,000 sq ft of hangar space, enough to accommodate four Gulfstream G650ER or G650 aircraft. Adjacent to the facility is an FBO run by sister company Jet Aviation that has a 10,000 sq ft terminal and a 43,000 sq ft hangar, which includes office space.
In addition to offering maintenance, the facility also serves as the local operating base for Gulfstream FAST Field and Airborne Support Teams, a rapid-response unit that specialises in troubleshooting grounded aircraft. There are more than 130 Gulfstream aircraft based at Van Nuys airport, the most active business aviation airport in California.
Gulfstream Van Nuys has easy access to Gulfstream's west coast customer support distribution centre, in place onsite since 2014, which has a parts and materials inventory of nearly $30 million.