Listening to Gulfstream Aerospace G500 and G600 Testing

SavannahGulfstream Aerospace is well along in flight testing of their new G500 and G600 models. Both aircraft are being built at and tested out of Gulfstream’s factory in Savannah at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. If you live near the Georgia coast, you can hear some of the testing activity of these aircraft if you know what to listen for and where to listen for them at. You can also track them on Mode-S/ADS-B while you listen to them. Using Mode-S to identify the flights is actually the best way to identify a Gulfstream test flight as a G500 or G600 instead of another aircraft undergoing flight testing.

What do you need to listen for? First, you need to listen out for the flight testing callsign: GULFTEST ##. They almost always use GULFTEST whether they’re testing a G500 of G600, a G550 or G650, or an older aircraft that’s been in for service. On Mode-S or in Flight Aware, the callsign will show as GLF##. After you’ve found the right GLF## flight, look for an aircraft type of GA5C, which is the G500 or GA6C, which is the G600. They almost always have ADS-B turned on, so you can track their flight path as they do their test flights. To date, I’ve tracked seven G500s and five G600s, here are their N-Numbers and Mode-S codes:

G500
N500GA (A63A87)
N502GS (A64205)
N503G (A645AB)
N504GS (A64973)
N505GD (A64D1D)
N507GD (A6548B)
N511GD (A665C0)

G600
N600G (A7C7D5)
N601GA (A7CB8D)
N720GD (A9A426)
N730GD (A9CBA5)
N740GD (A9F324)

glf6-glf67
ADS-B plot for GULFTEST 06 (G600, N600G, Gulfstream Aerospace) with GULFTEST 67 (G500, N500GA, Gulfstream Aerospace) also appearing

Where do you listen for them at? Most of the test flights take place off of the Georgia coast, so the local air traffic control frequencies for Savannah and the coastal area including Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport as well as SEALORD primary frequencies for offshore SUAs are your best bet and are listed below. Sometimes, the test flights are over land or are cross-country flights, so Jax Center and Atlanta Center frequencies are your best bets then. The Jax Center and Atlanta Center frequencies that can easily be heard from the Savannah area are listed on my MilAir page. The test flights can also be heard on two Gulfstream frequencies which are listed below.

119.100 – Savannah IAP Tower
124.975 – Hunter AAF Tower
123.000 – Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport
120.400 – Savannah Approach/Departure
125.300 – Savannah Approach/Departure
124.675 – Jacksonville Center Jekyll Low
126.125 – Jacksonville Cener Statesboro High
126.750 – Jacksonville Center Brunswick Low
132.425 – Jacksonville Center Hunter High
132.925 – Jacksonville Center Allendale Low
120.950 – SEALORD North Primary
123.200 – WCM9, Gulfstream Aerospace
123.350 – GULFTEST Air-to-Air

The Gulfstream flight testing is something you can listen to with almost any inexpensive scanner (almost all of them these days have VHF airband coverage). Amateur radio operators can also listen to them with a lot of 2m/70cm radios since many rigs that have those bands also offer extended receive in the VHF airband range. Most of the testing also takes place over 10,000 ft, so it’s not hard to hear with handheld radios, especially if you use something like the Diamond RH77CA. Even though most of the aviation activity I listen to is military aviation, I still enjoy monitoring the Gulfstream testing and catching the new G500s and G600s as they start testing.

 

Sentry Savannah Photos; 1 February 2018

Savannah – After breakfast yesterday morning, I drove out to Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport to catch the Sentry Savannah aircraft recovering to Savannah from their morning sorties. When I first got to my spot (the old Applebee’s at SR 21/SR 307), the airport was using Runway 10, which meant that aircraft were taking off towards me and it wasn’t going to be a good spot to catch the fighters when they returned. I hung around a few minutes and caught the last departing fighters for the morning: VFA-143 F/A-18Es and 2nd FTS T-38s.

 

F/A-18E from VFA-143 climbing out of Savannah-Hilton Head IAP almost vertically, if you look closely you can see the afterburner trails

 

2nd FTS T-38 departing Savannah-Hilton Head Airport, this one stood out because they apparently replaced its left landing gear doors and haven’t gotten around to painting them to match the rest of the aircraft yet

 

F/A-18E from VFA-143 climbing out of Savannah-Hilton Head IAP vertically, if you look closely you can see the afterburner trails

 

After watching the last of the F/A-18Es and T-38s take off, I went around to the other side of the airport and found a good spot behind the Sam Sneads restaurant on Airport Rd. to watch the approach end of Runway 28. While I was there, a handful of T-38s and a flight of F/A-18Es returned; I didn’t get any good photos of the T-38s, but I did catch a good photo of one of the F/A-18Es.

 

F/A-18E, 168920, VFA-143 on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

After the F/A-18Es came in, the airport decided to switch runways to Runway 28, so it was back to my first spot. Once I was back at the old Applebee’s, 43rd FS F-22s, VFA-143 F/A-18Es, 2nd FTS T-38s, and 125th FW F-15s began to come back. It’s been awhile since I had the chance to watch any fighters, so it was fun to watch these come back and get some photos as they did. I had my Uniden BCD436HP scanning Savannah tower and the approach/departure frequencies so I could tell when each flight was coming and be ready.

 

F/A-18E, 168921, VFA-143 on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

43rd FS F-22A on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

43rd FS F-22A on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

Flight of 4 125th F-15Cs passing over Savannah-Hilton Head IAP before they broke formation for landing

 

F-22A, 01-4019, 43rd FS on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-22A, 01-4019, 43rd FS on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0152, 125th FW on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0152, 125th FW on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0127, 125th FW on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0143, on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

F-15C, 86-0177, 125th FW on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

T-38, 68-8139, 2nd FTS on approach to Savannah-Hilton Head IAP

 

 

Cessna 210 Makes Emergency Landing on the South End of Ossabaw Island

Savannah – This morning I made an early morning visit to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge; while on the way to breakfast around 0930, I began hearing an In-Flight Emergency (IFE) situation in progress south of Savannah. Savannah Approach/Departure was in communication with an aircraft that I could barely hear in reference to it declaring an emergency. The pilot of the aircraft told the controller that they were going to try to land on a beach and shortly thereafter the controller lost both radio and radar contact with the aircraft. No other aircraft reported picking up an ELT, so I was hoping that the pilot had been able to make a safe, controlled landing.

 

Things began to happen fairly quickly. The controller vectored a nearby aircraft to the area of the south end of Ossabaw Island near where the last radar contact was. After searching the area for a few minutes, that aircraft located the aircraft on the beach and reported that they could see the occupants outside of the aircraft. A US Coast Guard Auxiliary Aircraft, Auxiliary 41C, was also in the area and it headed towards Ossabaw Island as well. Just before 1000, US Coast Guard RESCUE 6550 (MH-65D, 6550, CGAS Savannah) departed Coast Guard Air Station Savannah at Hunter AAF for Ossabaw Island. There was encrypted communications on 413.000, CG 413, which Coast Guard Sector Charleston uses for communicating with USCG aircraft in the area, but there was also some traffic in the clear between Sector Charleston and 6550 on 157.050, Marine VHF Ch. 21. I could only hear Sector Charleston’s side of the traffic since I was so far away in Garden City, but 6550 picked up the occupants of the aircraft shortly after 1000 and transported them to CGAS Savannah, leaving the aircraft on the beach. I didn’t catch the N-number of the aircraft during the IFE, but the USCG photo below shows it to be a Cessna 210, N2246S, registered to a company out of Townsend, GA.

 

A crew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Georgia, assisted three people Saturday, July 8, 2017, following an aircraft emergency landing on Ossabaw Island. All three people were in good condition and reported no injuries. U.S. Coast Guard photo

 

It was wonderful to listen to a rescue that had a good, safe conclusion. The controller handled the situation calmly, the pilot apparently cooly and calmly handled the emergency landing, the second aircraft deviated from its flight path to find the landing location, and the Coast Guard quickly got out to the location to recover the occupants. It was definitely not something you hear every day.

Sentry Savannah Photos; 8 February 2017

Savannah – This morning I went out to Savannah International Airport and watched the Sentry Savannah morning sorties come back in and get some photos of the aircraft. It’s been awhile since I shot fast moving targets and as the morning progressed it got dark and overcast (even before the overcast moved over, you can tell from the contrails how humid the morning was) but I had fun. It definitely made up for a long drought of airplane watching!

43rd FS F-22A
43rd FS F-22A
43rd FS F-22A, 02-4029
43rd FS F-22A, 02-4029
43rd FS F-22A, 00-4012
43rd FS F-22A, 00-4012
2nd FTS T-38A, 68-8139
2nd FTS T-38A, 68-8139
2nd FTS T-38A
2nd FTS T-38A
2nd FTS T-38A, 68-8204
2nd FTS T-38A, 68-8204
142nd FW F-15C
142nd FW F-15C
142nd FW F-15C, 78-0482
142nd FW F-15C, 78-0482
142nd FW F-15C, 78-0482
142nd FW F-15C, 78-0482
142nd FW F-15C, 78-0482
142nd FW F-15C, 78-0482
Section of 43rd FS F-22As returning to Savannah IAP
Section of 43rd FS F-22As returning to Savannah IAP
43rd FS F-22A
43rd FS F-22A
Flight of 3 142nd FW F-15Cs returning to Savannah IAP
Flight of 3 142nd FW F-15Cs returning to Savannah IAP
142nd FW F-15C
142nd FW F-15C
Flight of VFA-143 F/A-18Es returning to Savannah IAP
Flight of VFA-143 F/A-18Es returning to Savannah IAP
VFA-143 F/A-18E
VFA-143 F/A-18E
VFA-143 F/A-18E
VFA-143 F/A-18E
VFA-143 F/A-18E
VFA-143 F/A-18E
VFA-143 F/A-18E
VFA-143 F/A-18E

The Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB – 30 December 2016

Warner Robins, GA – My nephew Kaleb and I drove up to Warner Robins from Savannah today and visited the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB. It’s the first time I’ve been in over a year and the first time Kaleb’s been in a long time. The main reason I went up was to see what kind of progress they’re making on their recently acquired B-17 and I thought Kaleb would enjoy since he’s out of school this week – so I invited him along for the trip.

My nephew seemed to enjoy the trip; here he is in the Museum of Aviation's RF-4C weapons systems trainer
My nephew seemed to enjoy the trip; here he is in the Museum of Aviation’s RF-4C weapons systems trainer

The museum’s B-17G, 44-83690, seems to be in the stripping/cleaning phase of restoration. It is in a multitude of pieces and is mostly down to the bare metal on the exterior. The instrument panel is complete and they have it on display in front of the fuselage. The fuselage is in half with the wings, horizontal stabilizer, and vertical stabilizer removed. The stabilizers and wings are on display nearby (one wing section is nicely displayed so that you can see the turbo-superchargers and recess for the main landing gear). It reminded me of the early days of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum’s B-17G, and if that project was any indicator it will take the museum awhile to complete the restoration. That said, they’ve made a good bit of progress already!

The Museum of Aviation's B-17G,,44-83690's fuselage in half (and in Rudolph livery for Christmas!) for stripping/cleaning.
The Museum of Aviation’s B-17G,,44-83690’s fuselage in half (and in Rudolph livery for Christmas!) for stripping/cleaning.
The Museum of Aviation's B-17G,,44-83690's fuselage in half (and in Rudolph livery for Christmas!) for stripping/cleaning.
The Museum of Aviation’s B-17G,,44-83690’s fuselage in half (and in Rudolph livery for Christmas!) for stripping/cleaning.
44-83690's wings are removed and stood up for display across from the fuselage (this one so you can see the turbo-superchargers and recess for the main landing gear)
44-83690’s wings are removed and stood up for display across from the fuselage (this one so you can see the turbo-superchargers and recess for the main landing gear)
44-83690's horizontal stabilizer on display near the fusealge
44-83690’s horizontal stabilizer on display near the fusealge
44-83690's vertical stabilizer on display next to the fuselage
44-83690’s vertical stabilizer on display next to the fuselage
Some of 44-83690's bomb racks on display near the fuselage
Some of 44-83690’s bomb racks on display near the fuselage
44-83690's chin turret mount and seat
44-83690’s chin turret mount and seat
44-83690's tail gunner compartment
44-83690’s tail gunner compartment
44-83690's completed instrument panel on display in front of the fuselage
44-83690’s completed instrument panel on display in front of the fuselage

The museum’s new P-51H, 44-64265, was almost finished with its restoration  when I visited in October 2015 (they were mounting the propeller that day). It’s now completed and is on display with the other World War II aircraft. 44-64265 is beautifully turned out and truly looks sharp sitting next to the museum’s B-29. One of only six P-51Hs remaining in existence, 44-64265 is the only one on public display. Although it didn’t see combat, it is painted to resemble one that did.

The Museum of Aviation's P-51H Mustang,  44-64265
The Museum of Aviation’s P-51H Mustang, 44-64265
The Museum of Aviation's P-51H Mustang,  44-64265
The Museum of Aviation’s P-51H Mustang, 44-64265

I always have to take some photos of my favorites when I’m at the museum and today was no exception.  The MH-53 Pave Low has always been a favorite of mine and the museum’s MH-53M 70-1626 is a veteran of long service to her country; among the conflicts she saw service in were Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom. They also have a triumvirate of reconnaissance aircraft on display together: a U-2, SR-71, and RQ-4. There aren’t very many places where you can see those three together showing the progression of aerial reconnaissance technology.  I also have a love of Forward Air Controller aircraft such as the museum’s O-1, O-2, OV-10, and A-10. Having Kaleb along also let me try to pass on some of my enthusiasm for military aviation and military history; today I told him about the air combat in Vietnam between the F-4s and MiG-17s.

MH-53M (70-1626)
MH-53M (70-1626)
SR-71A (61-7958), U-2D (56-6682), and RQ-4A GLOBAL HAWK (02-2011)
SR-71A (61-7958), U-2D (56-6682), and RQ-4A GLOBAL HAWK (02-2011)
SR-71A (61-7958)
SR-71A (61-7958)
O-1E/L-19A (51-12857)
O-1E/L-19A (51-12857)
O-2A (67-21380)
O-2A (67-21380)
OV-10A (67-14263)
OV-10A (67-14263)
A-10A (75-0305)
A-10A (75-0305)
F-4D (66-7554)
F-4D (66-7554)
MiG-17 540713
MiG-17 540713

It’s worth noting that a number of aircraft have been moved in to the display hangars and appear to be in various phases of or about to undergo restoration. The F-86 is in the Century of Flight hangar, where it’s been for awhile, but looks like it might be about ready to go back on display. Some of the outside aircraft (such as the C-141) have been moved around as well.

If you have any interest, even just a passing one, in aviation the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB is well worth the visit.