Gulfstream Aerospace’s G600 iron bird recently completed its “first flight,” marking growing maturity of the new aircraft program. The iron bird is a dimensionally accurate structure that includes a flight deck, allowing engineers to test the flight control and mechanical systems—including landing gear, brakes and hydraulics—in a ground-based lab. During the 30-minute session, the iron bird simulated taxi, takeoff and landing, as well as maneuvers and transitions at altitude and airspeed.
According to Gulfstream senior vice president of programs, engineering and test Dan Nale, “This first flight sets in motion the testing and validation required for the G600’s actual first flight,” which is expected later this year. In fact, the first G600 flight-test aircraft and structural test article are in production, the company said.
Like its fly-by-wire G500 sibling, the G600 features the Symmetry Flight Deck with active control sidesticks, integrated touchscreen controllers, next-generation enhanced vision system and Honeywell Primus Epic avionics. The twinjet is scheduled to enter service in 2019, one year after the G500.