A conversation with Charlie Gray, Vice President, Flight Test and Engineering Laboratories, GULFSTREAM
Can you provide us the latest status of the flight-testing program progress?
In addition to the two fully outfitted production test aircraft already flying, the G700 flight test program includes five aircraft. The program has successfully accomplished critical phases-of-flight tests, including envelope expansion, flutter, aerodynamic stalls, flying qualities, flight control systems and air-data testing, as well as cold weather and high-altitude testing and all required structural testing.
The G700 will be certified as a new Gulfstream GVI variant although it is sharing most of its cockpit and fly-by-wire technology with the Gulfstream GVII (G500 / G600 Family). How is this commonality benefiting the G700 program testing and maturity?
We expect the G700 and G800 to share the same GVIII pilot type rating. We are also working to minimize training requirements between the GVII (G400, G500 and G600) and the GVIII. The Symmetry Flight Deck is already proving its performance on the in-service G500 and G600, and the maturity of this technology is serving the G700 flight-test program well.
One particular aspect of the G700 flight test program is the extensive use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Were there any challenges to introducing SAF in such an early phase of the G700 program?
Gulfstream uses SAF extensively for corporate, demonstration, customer support and flight test flying. It is a drop-in fuel with the same characteristics as Jet-A and presents no challenges in any phase of the flight test program.
The G700 was already able to set a certain number of city-pair speed records. Can you give us a few examples of the G700 advanced capabilities you were able to demonstrate?
The G700 has been performing flawlessly. Of the eight international city-pair speed records the G700 has already set, those include Savannah, Georgia, to Doha and Doha to Paris at Mach 0.90 and Houston, Texas, to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at Mach 0.87
G700 Flight Test Program Milestones:
- October 21, 2019 | G700 Program Launch
- February 14, 2020 | G700 First Flight
- March 20, 2020 | First Flight of the Second G700 Flight Test Vehicle
- May 8, 2020 | First Flight of the Third G700 Flight Test Vehicle
- October 2, 2020 | First Flight of the Fourth G700 Flight Test Vehicle
- October 23, 2020 | First Flight of the Fifth G700 Flight Test Vehicle
- April 15, 2021 | First Flight of Fully Outfitted G700
- eptember 8, 2022 | First Flight of Second Fully Outfitted G700
Tim O’Hara, Director, Design Innovation, Gulfstream, answers EWM questions on the G700 state-of-the-art cabin.
Gulfstream is now flying two fully outfitted test aircraft to ensure the maturity, durability, and comfort of the many cabin elements and technologies specifically developed for the ultra-long-range jet.
Can you provide us a quick overview of some of the new features introduced in the G700 Cabin?
The first fully outfitted G700 features the industry’s only ultragalley, with more than 10 feet of counter space; a dedicated crew space; an entertainment and presentation area; a six-place conference and dining area; and a state room with full-length wardrobe. We debuted the award-winning G700 seat design on this aircraft and have been receiving great customer feedback on comfort and style as it has been flying around the world for customer showings.
The second G700 test aircraft, which made its first flight in September, will ensure the maturity, durability and comfort of more cabin elements that were introduced with the aircraft’s launch in 2019, including the all-new ultrahigh-definition dynamic circadian lighting system, an optional feature capable of replicating sunlight. The Gulfstream-designed system mixes warm white, cool white and amber LED lights and spans from 0.01 brightness to 100%, allowing it to simulate sunrise to sunset. The lighting can also be programmed individually for each cabin zone, tailored to passenger preferences and specific activities, such as dining or working.
As with all Gulfstream’s interiors, the G700 combines a low cabin altitude with 100% fresh, never recirculated air and the largest windows in the industry, allowing natural light to flood the cabin. On the production test aircraft, this healthy environment promotes wellness and is complemented with bespoke furnishings, such as curved side-ledges and arm rests and arched doorways that provide a calming visual experience.
Some design elements of the G700 Interior are already recognizable, like the new award-winning G700 Classic Seat. Can you tell us more about the development and design process of this G700 masterpiece?
The seating Gulfstream designed for the G700 combines comfort, flexibility and customization. We researched and developed seating profiles that provide ideal bolstering to reduce high-pressure areas, something that was verified through customer testing over countless hours in simulated experiences. We made subtle changes, too, to increase comfort, such as incorporating seat controls into the arm rest to facilitate minimal movement on the passengers’ part. In the all-new banquette seating, we created a fully stowable center arm rest to deploy completely and seamlessly, enhancing comfort.
The G700 introduces the industry’s longest galley with 10 feet of counter space. The new design is transforming this service zone into a true social area.
Can you give us more details on some of the design elements and available features of this “Ultragalley” offering?
Gulfstream customers have told us they want their on-ground lifestyle to extend to their aircraft, and when we designed the G700, our goal was to exceed those expectations. Business-jet travelers want their gourmet kitchen on the aircraft, whether for their personal chefs, catering or those who enjoy cooking for friends and family. The G700’s ultra-galley meets these needs with more than 10 feet of counter space, the largest in the industry, and more storage and refrigeration
The first G700 outfitted cabins show a serene atmosphere interior designed in Gulfstream’s minimalist aesthetic philosophy. Can you walk us through some of the selected materials and color tones?
Many customers are expanding the use of natural materials on their aircraft, whether that is a rare wood veneer, hand-stitched leathers or hand-woven wool rugs. We are also seeing a subtle blend of composites with the natural material, to provide design embellishments or accents.
A Cabin of that size should offer a tremendous amount of customization opportunities. How do you ensure the customer’s interior personalization remains an enjoyable experience?
Business-jet travelers want to personalize their aircraft, and Gulfstream gives them opportunities to do that through recessed panels in a veneer, for instance, that can be used for built-in custom artwork. Even the latches on cabinets allow for custom inserts to create those small personal touches that make the space their own. As more passengers’ access entertainment exclusively on tablets, the need for mounted monitors decreases, and that also opens more space for artwork or other customization on bulkheads.