Initial Gulfstream G500 Test Flights

Savannah – It turns out that I’ve been listening to the initial test flights of Gulfstream’s new G500 jet and didn’t even realize it. My aviation is interest is mostly in the realm of military aviation, but I have found it interesting to listen to Gulfstream flight test ops over the years since their factory is here in Savannah. A recent news release (see below) from Gulfstream made me go back and look at my monitoring notes and Mode-S/ADS-B logs and I realize that I’ve caught some of those initial test flights!

On 10 August, Gulfstream announced that it had completed five test flights of their new G500 jet. I listen to some of their test flight operations and realized that I’d caught some of the G500 test flights on both Mode-S and the radios. N500GA (based on a Gulfstream news release and photo) is the test aircraft for the G500 and I’ve “seen” it up on Mode-S and ADS-B a number of times as A63A87 and heard it as GULFTEST 67. I’m guessing the callsign is test pilot related because that’s the only callsign I’ve seenheard A63A87/N500GA flying under. I also saw/heard it flying yesterday as GULFTEST 67, so the testing continues.

N500GA, the Gulfstream G500 test aircraft (photo from Gulfstream news release)
N500GA, the Gulfstream G500 test aircraft (photo from Gulfstream news release)

If you’re interested in listening out for Gulfstream’s test flights, keep an ear on these frequencies:

119.100 – Savannah IAP Tower
120.400 – Savannah Approach/Departure
125.300 – Savannah Approach/Departure
132.925 – Jax Center Allendale/Savannah Low
124.675 – Jax Center Jekyll Low
126.750 – Jax Center Brunswick Low
120.950 – Sealord North Primary VHF

123.200 – WCM9, Gulfstream

Many Gulfstream test flights are usually conducted off of and around the coastal Georgia area and are fairly easy to listen to as they take off from Savannah and go out to the offshore SUAs under SEALORD’s control. Most of the time the communications are fairly mundane, but you never know when you’ll catch something interesting by combining what you hear on the radio with what you’re seeing from a Mode-S receiver.


SAVANNAH, Georgia, August 10, 2015 — Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. today announced that the Gulfstream G500 has completed five test flights since it first took to the skies on May 18.

During more than 15 hours of flying, the aircraft achieved a top speed of Mach 0.80 and a maximum altitude of 38,500 feet/11,735 meters. The aircraft’s longest flight was more than four hours.

Over the past several weeks, the aircraft has been undergoing planned modifications in preparation for returning to flight later this month.

“The first five flights exceeded our expectations,” said Dan Nale, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “And they demonstrated that our testing facilities on the ground are having very real benefits in the air, allowing us to identify and address issues before they’re ever seen in flight.”

Gulfstream announced the G500 and G600 family of aircraft on Oct. 14, 2014. Programs for both aircraft are progressing well. As the first G500 flight-test article undergoes modification, two more are preparing for flight and a fourth is in production. Additionally, the first G600 flight-test aircraft has begun the initial stages of production.

Together, the two programs have completed more than 36,000 hours of lab testing, and both the G600 integration test facility (ITF) and the G600 Iron Bird are now operational. The engines for the G500 and G600, the PW814GA and the PW815GA, respectively, were certified by Transport Canada in February.

The G500 and G600 offer an optimized combination of speed, wide-cabin comfort and efficiency providing best-in-class performance with advanced safety features.

The G500 has a range of 5,000 nautical miles/9,260 kilometers at Mach 0.85 or 3,800 nm/7,038 km at Mach 0.90, while the G600 can carry passengers 6,200 nm/11,482 km at Mach 0.85 and 4,800 nm/8,890 km at Mach 0.90. The maximum operating speed for both aircraft is Mach 0.925, the same maximum speed as Gulfstream’s G650 and G650ER.

The G500 and G600 also include Gulfstream’s all-new SymmetryTM Flight Deck, the most advanced, stylish, comfortable and intuitive flight deck in business aviation. The cutting-edge technology comes in the form of active control sidesticks (ACSs), integrated touchscreen controllers, next-generation enhanced vision system (EVS III), and Honeywell Primus Epic avionics.

The G500 and G600 cabins maximize comfort, with an industry-leading cabin altitude of 4,850 feet/1,578 meters at FL510 and 100 percent fresh air that boosts mental alertness and productivity while reducing fatigue.

Gulfstream anticipates certification of the G500 in 2017, with entry into service in 2018. The G600 certification is slated to follow in 2018, with entry into service in 2019.

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