Gulfstream Aerospace's long-cabin, twin-engine G600 business jet has taken to the air for the first time, kicking off its flight-test program. According to Gulfstream, the test flight went off without a hitch with test pilots Scott Martin and Todd Abler at the controls supported by Flight Test engineer Nathaniel Rutland. It took off on December 17 at 1:50 pm EST from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, Georgia and was in the air for two hours and 53 minutes.

With a length of 96 ft (29.26 m) and a wingspan of 95 ft (28.96 m), the G600 replaces the G450 and has greater range and lower fuel consumption than its predecessor. It's powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW815GA turbofan engines, carries a crew of two and up to 19 passengers, depending on how it's configured. Cruising speed is Mach 0.85 (647 mph, 1,041 km/h) with a range of 6,200 nm (7135 mi, 11,482 km).

Gulfstream claims the G600 has the longest cabin in its class that's pressurized to low altitude and can be configured into four work, entertainment, dining and rest areas. KIt also boasts satellite communications and high-speed internet.

"Launching the G600's flight-test program is a milestone for us and our customers, who have guided the vision for this aircraft from the beginning," says Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. "We look forward to delivering this aircraft to them in 2018. Today's flight, which went flawlessly, represents a significant step forward in the journey to certification and delivery."

Two additional G600s are due to make their first flights early next year.

Source: Gulfstream