Aviation Technology - Page 20 Aviation Articles

Gulfstream G650 nears speed of sound, earns title of fastest civilian jet

Courtesy of Gulfstream

The Gulfstream G650 neared the speed of sound in flutter testing this week, hitting Mach 0.995, and established itself as the fastest civilian aircraft on the planet.

In achieving the speed, test pilots Tom Horne and Gary Freeman, joined by flight test engineer Bill Osborne, took the aircraft into a dive where the nose of the aircraft pitched 16 to 18 degrees below the horizon, Gulfstream said in a statement.

Flutter designers applied a range of vibration frequencies during the dive on the tail, wing and flight-control surfaces to make sure the plane could naturally dampen them without further action from the pilots. The company said the aircraft performed “flawlessly” during the test. [more]

A photo of the three-member test crew on the Gulfstream web site this week showed each of them beaming smiles and  flashing thumbs-up gestures. 

Since the G650 flight-testing program began in November 2009, four airplanes have completed 575 hours in more than 170 flights. The entire testing phase will span 1,800 hours.  

“The airplane is very predictable,” Horne said. He is the senior experimental test pilot for Gulfstream. “It’s very easy to control and to get precise control at those speeds. The airplane response has matched the expectations of our engineers, and we’ve been able to easily fly the test conditions and march through the test plan.”

The ultra-large cabin, ultra-high speed G650 will carry eight passengers and a four-person crew on 7,000 nautical-mile legs at Mach 0.85. The company says it can cover 5,000 nautical miles at Mach 0.90.

Various floor plans can accommodate up to 18 people, according to the company web site, which dubs the G650 “the fastest, widest, longest business jet”

Technological features built into the aircraft will include a Planeview II avionics suite, featuring a Triplex flight management system, 3-D weather radar, automatic emergency descent mode, Head-Up Display (HUD) II and Enhanced Vision System (EVS) II, among other features.

Shape-shifting rescue planes: Where can we sign up for one?

OK, so maybe the technology has not come this far yet.

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a shape-shifting UAV robot?

Developers in Cyprus and Israel, as part of EUREKA, a European collaborative science effort, recently announced creation of an unmanned aircraft that will be able to change shape in order to maneuver in severe weather while performing maritime search-and-rescue missions.

The National Science Foundation this week published a thorough review on the U.S News & World Report web site. The article calls the result from the “E! 3931 ASARP” project a cheap-to-build, small, and handy aircraft that will shorten the duration of sea-based rescue operations and be able to operate from land or water in extreme weather. [more]

Final stages of testing continue on a prototype in Cyprus. Commercial use will also depend on governmental aviation regulations, according to the article, assumedly to allow the design’s moving parts the legal freedom to, ahem, spread its wings.

Project director Dr. Michael Amprikidis said the use of cutting-edge technologies such as aeroservoelastic trim tabs allow the airframe to reformulate itself and its light mass to overcome harsh conditions by doing so.

"A tab can have very high oscillation frequency,” Amprikidis was quoted in saying in the article. “Traditional flight surfaces cannot match these frequencies, leading to up-and-down movement of aircraft during turbulence."

Read more here.

Citation Mustang outfitted with medical gear

Cessna recently announced that its Citation Mustang can now complete another mission, this one perhaps to save lives.

The aircraft can now be outfitted with equipment from Spectrum Aeromed to modify it into a medical transport. Cessna delivered the news during last month’s EAA Airventure.

The medical Mustang will feature the single-patient 2200 Series advanced life-support module from Spectrum Aeromed. It features a specially designed stretcher to move patients comfortably in and out of tight quarters. [more]

The system includes 3500 liters of oxygen, an air compressor and vacuum pump, in addition to AC outlets and pneumatic outlets. It currently can be fitted into the Citation I, II and III models, as well as other aircraft.

Cessna will install the system at its service center in Wichita, Kansas in about a week’s time, the company said in a release. Pricing has not yet been released.

The first delivery is set to take place in October to Jet Budget, a Caribbean charter operator, according to the Cessna statement.

An update on the Cobalt Co50


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Before heading to Oshkosh, we posted a preview of what to expect from startup company Cobalt, which unveiled a prototype of its Co50 piston pusher canard at Airventure last month.


On the final day of the festival, as vendor began to take down tents all across Wittman Regional Airport, we spoke with a couple representatives of the company.


The prototype that accompanied a press conference given by the company earlier in the week sat at the center of the Cobalt tent. An empty shell at the rear of the aircraft, pictured above, noted in orange tape that a production model would feature in that spot a twin-turbocharged TCM TSIOF-550-D2B with Powerlink FADEC that will crank out 350 HP to a Hartzell 3-blade propeller.


Designers estimate the aircraft can cruise at 245 KTAS at 8,000 feet for a range of more than 1,240 miles.


Cobalt representatives, including a lead engineer of the project, told us that their plan still calls for obtaining FAR 23 certification within the next few months in order for testing to begin by the end of the year.


Assuming all goes well, production could begin by 2012 or so, they said.


A proposed interior for the aircraft includes five-and four-point seat belt harnesses strapped into 18g crash-resistant bucket seats.


Airventure also provided Cobalt staff an opportunity to meet with parts manufacturers and other suppliers, which they said led to talks on avionics equipment and landing gear perhaps to be featured in the Co50.


Also expect the French company to open a United States headquarters in San Francisco. A final assembly site has yet to be determined.

Aviation Partners brings Falcon 50 with spiroid winglets to Oshkosh

The Airventure festival in Oshkosh, Wisc., always is a bustling hub for GA, experimental, vintage and military aircraft. However, it also sees its fair share of innovations in the realm of business aviation.

Aviation Partners, Inc., flew in and showed off a modified Falcon 50 test model during the 2010 event. The plane was on display in AeroShell Square throughout Airventure.

The test-model Falcon 50 is outfitted with a set of Spiroid Winglets that its designers hope will further reduce drag on an aircraft and lead to fuel savings, even more so than with other winglets currently on the market.

Spiroid winglets tested on a Gulfstream II produced initial results that indicated fuel consumption could be cut by as much as 10 percent in cruise flight by the wingtips.

The hoop-shaped spiroids resulted from a NASA-sponsored project that Aviation Week reported will include about 25 flights. Those working on the project told the magazine that a production model would be expected to weigh significantly less than other winglet options.

Having already produced blended winglets for the Falcon 900 and Boeing 767-300ER, Aviation Partners notes on its web site that the products have reduced global carbon dioxide emissions by more than 22.5 million tons and reduced fuel consumption by 2.2 billion gallons.



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