Flying the G550

At the controls, at long last | by Matt Thurber
The Gulfstream G550 proved itself a strong
performer and easy to handle with the right training.

© 2016 AIN Publications. All Rights Reserved. For Reprints go to
After earning a new type rating, headquarters for the flight, I summary of the G550’s capa- high-speed cruise is Mach 0.85.
most corporate pilots jump right learned that I would experience bilities and a thorough preflight Cabin altitude at the maximum
into the cockpit of the airplane what the crew for buyers of a new briefing. Certified in 2003, the altitude of 51,000 feet and max
on which they just trained and G550 would go through. Senior G550 has enjoyed a tremendous cabin pressure differential of
go to work. When I finished the international captain Ed Facisze- run, with 530 in service and no 10.48 psi is a comfortable 6,000
Gulfstream G550 initial course wski and international captain plan to phase it out of produc- feet. This performance was
(AIN, November, page 46) at Nick Rose said they would take tion as the new G500 and G600 attention-grabbing when the
FlightSafety International’s me on a trip as if this were an enter service; the marketplace GV—which later became the
Long Beach learning center in entry-into-service flight. This is will be the ultimate decider on G550—entered service in 1997,
June, I was doubly excited, not a service that Gulfstream pro- that question. but even more so when con-
only because it was an oppor- vides new customers and allows The Rolls-Royce BR710 sidering the clean Gulfstream
tunity to add the G550 to my the crew to become thoroughly C4-11-powered G550 offers wing, which has no leading-
pilot certificate but also because familiar with their new jet while long range (6,750 nm at Mach edge devices.
Gulfstream invited me to fly a flying with highly experienced 0.80), direct climb to FL410 on Four seating areas can be fit-
real G550 shortly thereafter. I pilots and, if desired, complet- a warm day, sub-6,000-foot bal- ted in the cabin, or three when
would finally get to see what it ing the first few actual trips for anced field length at maximum buyers opt for a crew rest area.
is like for other pilots to transi- the owner. Of course, there was takeoff weight and the ability to The rear baggage area is acces-
tion from training in a simula- no owner in this case, just me, tanker fuel by flying, with the sible in flight, but there is a lim-
tor, getting the type rating, then Faciszewski and Rose and a right winds, from New York to itation of five minutes with the
flying the real airplane. gorgeous gently used low-time London and back without add- internal baggage door open
Even better, when I arrived G550, N531GA. ing any fuel. Maximum oper- above 40,000 feet. Since the
at Gulfstream’s Savannah, Ga. The morning began with a ating speed is Mach 0.885, and compartment is accessible from

He has been he keeps the G550 on centerline Epic-based PlaneView flight ics options are Waas LPV. system and HUD II head-up Faciszewski flew F-15s in the we would use that most of the ping the G550 with Honeywell’s display are both standard.” he explained. entry-into-service customers that the brakes is usually all that is SwiftBroadband. at the controls from Savannah to Augusta. left. because the rudder pedals allow the high-speed Ka-band Jet. Sirius XM Weather. ican Airlines before returning to ler. These controllers are Flight Brief flying. he ing on the ground. “Number one is to oper.” For idle.ainonline. Gulfstream has developed to adjust a variety of settings the briefing. pilot interface and are used said Faciszewski at the start of and his alone. time except on straightaways JetWave system. The second such as the ability to lean for- audio. aircraft and aircrew authori. working for Gulfstream for the during landings. which shouldn’t affect our flight into Augusta Regional. one for each zation required). when the autopilot is on. One setting. with some airwork on the way. business aviation. and Gulfstream will begin equip. The sterile cockpit rule would be observed from brake release until 10.” sibility of the pilot monitoring emergency exit. infrared-based enhanced vision the simulator and the aircraft. standard Blu-ray play.. for seven degrees of travel.” which is flanked by two dis. Four Awareness and Advisory Sys. company’s senior international captain Ed Faciszewski. and this was deck. and RNP SAAAR (special years before joining Gulfstream your nose on the centerline. “Try to put the central guidance panel. which delivers Fans. and the need to watch for turkey vultures that like to circle near the approach to the airport.000 feet. the exterior baggage pilot. When the pilot flying is hand the cabin. “The 550 . which is now flying in Honeywell’s RAAS (Runway past 10 years. Next year. As I learned at FlightSafety. As it is in the Gogo Business Aviation air-to. Because of the size of the play controllers. now in Australia and some ators then hiring on with Amer. and international captain Nick Rose. Among the the G550 and. The EVS II added. surprisingly. is the FlightSafety training. topped by latest version of ADS-B out for a regional airline for seven body. as is Air Force and was a T-37 instruc. Fla. We dis- cussed possible traffic around Augusta’s Daniels Field.Flying The G550 At long last.000 Gulfstream jets. in 2006. that we had two objectives for the flying the real G550 that were entertainment system. but he reminded me We discussed elements of its own cabin management and on the avionics. different from the simulator. and Connex service. flight. put his newfound knowledge to good use with a flight in a Gulfstream G550 with the except for the altitude preselect. campus and flew always use the center of my instrument panel. center. Faciszewski out- lined the weather. Ga. summarized Notams and described the plan for the flight in detail. from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona landing slightly to the left. (the earlier version required flying for some corporate oper. with for example. Asian countries). the pilot fly- ing “owns” the guidance panel AIN senior editor Matt Thurber. “I 14-inch display units fill the tem). G550’s clean wing. ViaSat probably because regulators take advantage of flying the first needed to get the airplane mov- Ku-band and Iridium plus still give no operational credit trips with Gulfstream pilots. with me flying right seat. meaning that releasing satcom options are Inmarsat not purchased by all buyers. the Beach. it’s smoother than using the til- The cockpit features Gulf. At Augusta. which was just about CAVU. the panel is the respon- door doubles as a secondary a primary component of the “We’re here just to have fun today. we would switch seats and I would be the pilot flying in the left seat for the return leg. CPDLC and ADS-B out tor before joining FlightSafety. For Reprints go to www.” steering is notably sensitive. is we want to provide real-world ward and see the wingtip. Rose graduated helpful for me as I tend to keep 1. the tiller nosewheel ground connectivity. HD bulkhead monitors Synthetic vision is optional on operational training following the large amount of thrust at and Airshow 4000. The plan was to fly two legs. full high-definition video and thetic vision to display on the ate safely at all times. and © 2016 AIN Publications. “We’re the bridge between simulator. All Rights ers. primary flight display (PFD). is selecting syn. Faciszewski explained how stream’s Honeywell Primus Among the other avion. for the technology.

and indeed it as I had done it so many times wski gave me the controls and first leg of this trip I was the did. I was glad Faciszewski was at Faciszewski emphasized light-load trips as well as long pit warmed up and ready in less the controls because there isn’t that we would “exercise sound trips carrying a full load of fuel than half the time it took me a lot of room for error. and I would ning one of the more compli.500 pounds of which has 30 items. If you should be about 7. catch any items missed during and design center ramp. well below the functional checks that are part grateful it was fairly simple: nose over. Faciszewski smoothly rotated. Once we touch stream’s PlaneBalance app. and once again in the simulator. it can easily handle short.845. then inspection (which is done with and electrical panels. V¹. I did end up making lator.800.000 feet. and here was another cleared to a block altitude from flights I’m usually not han. wski and I brought the G550’s ting the flight plan in the as we climbed out. I called down. then flew two 180-degree There would be just three airplane. then “gear up” and “flaps up” any abnormals or emergen.000-pound mtow. in the FlightSafety graphical I hand flew for a few minutes.0. “At about 100 feet. We were cies. simple APU start flow I did all over again. power first landing. For Reprints go to www. “I’m not going to introduce a dual sign-off) while Facisze. expect 11.4 pounds. exactly as we did of us on board—Faciszewski.ainonline. I wondered why Honeywell he said. Faciszewski as filed to Augusta.000 ten nose down and you have to apply off. and the trim setting would obviously. after the relatively a mistake that required I start steep turns. This process included doing ing skills as we taxied onto Run- inputs on the ground and in the items in the airplane that can’t way 28.” He would demo the Rose did the exterior preflight checking all the circuit breaker erated—“airspeed alive. taxied out of the tight confines © 2016 AIN Publications. and I was couldn’t have put a “back” but- to move [the yoke] back slowly. It was fun to use my copilot- looking for smooth control pound full-fuel payload. pleasantly surprised to see that ton on its FMS. I remembered almost every. You catch the nose. tor. and we had the cock. All Rights Reserved. We back pressure to catch the nose be 9. maintain When you land. and down pretty hard. and was far faster at minutes after departure. This was my first try at run. has been doing this for a and fly the nose down. but on the in the simulator. Facisze- dling the radios. judgment and airmanship. at Augusta. it wants to go use 10 degrees of flaps for take. As calculated using Gulf. including the dozen or so for the clearance and was come up and that pitches the 61.” Rose (in the jumpseat) and the before starting engines flow. I’m (41. fuel.000 feet.” he said. Faciszewski . flight-deck and full flight sim. Once ready to taxi. at the controls has tremendous ground effect.000 to 13. It’s a subtle flare. cated cockpit flows in the real ulators. lined up and then I gave air and a stable approach and Ready To Fly be done in the simulator such as the standard callouts as we accel- landing. pilot monitoring. On most demo cockpit to life. 11. and my partner in the simula. rotate”—and I would land back at Savannah. ing if I could practice input. set. 91.300 pounds) and an 1. Fuel burn for the flight the subsequent challenge-and. I start me—plus 13. comparing the feel to the simu- handle all the normal duties. a maintenance technician and I had asked during the brief. response that is designed to of the Gulfstream customer don’t do that. we have ground spoilers our takeoff weight would be thing. to go much faster than it did experience that felt familiar. the nose comes illustrating the G550’s flexibil. the flow.500 pounds. We would of that checklist. I expected this FMS.” ity. 3.Flying The G550 At long last. 80 knots.

to the required 15 degrees. Ceiling (certified) 51.800 lbs left to have climbed straight to good habit.5 ft plane.9 ft thing I had done before in the 113 kias. I’ll confidence and then to taxi to the occasional hunting motion We taxied to the ramp and admit I was a little nervous. some.4 ft the skies in an amazing air. tor.770 ft the feeling of blazing through ing the Lnav (lateral navigation) Length 96.300 lbs utes. because I was futzing with the Volume : 1.84. and it works well. Faciszewski sug- Width : 7. and they did it in a way that sensitive in the simulator. and looking through Baggage capacity 170 cu ft/2. Faciszewski said. but it took off. and I autopilot and following ATC 5. then.385 lbs way up because I was expecting could cause a sharp bump that Gulfstream PlaneView an engine to fail. where we would fly the Rnav most important element first. with the tiller. The gotten used to punching the Long-range cruise speed Mach 0. cabin around. he pointed jet slow down too much. a descent at a steady angle to get and Faciszewski made it look My Turn I managed to give the pre. between flying the simulator and FLCH (flight level change) or programmed the FMS with wski and Rose had clearly the real airplane is when using Vnav (vertical nav). the desired speed. if the nose is might hurt a passenger. tain’s seat of the G550. switch when we were cleared for Wingspan 93. I clicked off the Number built (through date) 530 (6/23/16) using vertical speed instead of autopilot and made sure the trim .com Max payload w/full fuel 1. including letting the nose Now it was my turn in the cap. but Runway 26 without causing too while in FLCH mode caused by followed a well choreographed Faciszewski is an excellent men. I I did use the speedbrakes on Price (typically completed and equipped) $61. which isn’t a © 2016 AIN Publications.669 cu ft Soon enough it was time to vertical mode. with the FAA certification (basis. Facisze- Avionics (Honeywell Primus Epic) too high.” he explained.000 ft east toward Gainesville. each wouldn’t bring the nose all the or retracting them too quickly Engines (2) 15.85 to FL470 and leveled off. As we neared the ini. ing demands of managing the Balanced field length at mtow (sea level. but in then -200 fpm at first to get the tial approach fix. and we had enough energy deck simulator. takeoff briefing with some a super-smooth descent without down gently.000 lbs just cruised along at Mach 0. I was impressed deft touch to avoid jerking the he had me try was to use the FPA 20 and gear down. switch to up on the inbound course and tive control while the engines of airplane. He had the Rnav 26 approach into game-planned this seat trans.910 ft finally relaxed a bit and enjoyed instructions. and we of safety awareness. Passengers 2 pilots + up to 19 pax drift off course if you let the big During my leg.750 nm at Mach 0. and very carefully flying the simulator. Faciszewski ensured the G550 was always.80 entire climb took about 21 min. and it took a really FLCH or Vnav. flaps were running. date) FAR Part 25. Height: 6. clicked on the He also had me try this in the but was done with a high degree ing I felt that the only difference autothrottles. switches in the graphical flight- Fuel capacity 41. levers forward. Pulling the speedbrakes out Rolls-Royce BR710 C4-11. I tried to make sure I is important to monitor speed Gulfstream G550 brought the nose of the G550 carefully and adjust the FPA Specifications and Performance smoothly up on rotation. gested concentrating on the Cabin nah. All Rights Reserved. Sure.000 ft Our flight plan took us south.ainonline. where I too. Facisze- routine that had us swap seats. 200-nm alternate) 6.5 million had gotten into a bad habit the descent. out that I was a little rough with Range We stopped briefly at FL230 the G550’s switches and that I (with NBAA reserves. cisely manipulate 60.3 ft plan the descent back to Savan. and we Rnav 28 approach. I lined up on atmospheric changes.Flying The G550 At long last. up in the rapidly accelerat- Faciszewski said this is what fly.500 lbs simulator. the tiller. the airplane I was trying to pre. it’s easy to let the nose wski said. which seemed like a lot of effort my smoothness. “Easy in and out (flight path angle) knob to set up The landing was smooth. I had High-speed cruise Mach 0. He did urge me to work on the runway.2 ft approach to Runway 28. at the controls took over the controls. descent started smoothly. something there is little or the approach and almost flew no time to do during simulator through the inbound course Height 25. Faciszewski showed the HUD combiner. For Reprints go to www. -100 fpm. pushed the power wski explained.80 then continued the climb to could use a little more finesse FL390 for a minute then climbed when pushing a switch. I delayed select- Landing distance 2.000 pounds once that is established. much discomfort. Another method near the final approach fix. standard) ing the G550 is mostly like. Facisze. by the sharp focus on safety. and I was grateful FL490. then asked for flaps 10. Vref at our weight was just Length (seating area): 43. and while taxi. I got caught Max takeoff weight 91. fer. under posi. accelerated and climb. for the critique. the tiller is just as me select a low rate. lining without question.8 ft training or a typical flight demo. Augusta. and to remain at the proper speed. 08/14/03 me a neat trick for smooth flying G550 stabilized with gear down in the Gulfstream: start a descent and full flaps. As we got ready to start the Cabin altitude at ceiling 6. This results in easy.

All Rights Reserved. but it took me obeying my commands and fly. but he fixed that fast by mov. what you made a rookie error. and ance panel. programming the ing my hand for me. and this is one of those two-pilot crew skills that I need to work on.ainonline. My intro- duction to the G550 through training with the talented MARK WAGNER FlightSafety instructors and flying with two ultra-profes- sional Gulfstream pilots was an During his flight in the G550 Thurber had the chance to put into practice all that he had learned at FlightSafety. I learned that I was going to I did make some mistakes move the tiller too abruptly. The G550 like the simulator. It really was a lot ing we discussed the flight would cure those quickly. in the simulator. Flying The G550 At long last. and The landing felt pretty good. Dur.  o . not that we really needed them to slow down after the landing at Savannah. ing to be super careful not to right on speed. I wasn’t using Rose taxied us back into the FMS. at the controls was set while the autothrottles was the end of a journey that lettering on a knob or switch the tiller while taxiing. “ inputting the flight plan into the FMS. while I was flying the G550. but also so and what I could do better ing the takeoff from Augusta. though. I was try- worked their magic and kept us had begun in February when before selecting it. I think that more experience audio panel and switched off the too early. audio for my headset. This never happened We switched seats again. time manipulating the guid. and apparently my wrist tapped the and I didn’t flare too much or During the post-flight brief. I also need to work on my thrust reverser deployment skills. new airplane. design center ramp. not mov. For Reprints go to www. problem. starting with awesome way to learn about a © 2016 AIN Publications. and that and making sure to read the a result of the way I was holding as I didn’t mention it to Facisze- wski right away.” said ing my right hand to the yoke wski was saying. G550 school. The G550 is a fantastic per- former with excellent handling and not at all hard to fly after proper training. Faciszewski. I cockpit is quiet enough that I much more. could hear everything Facisze- sounds and feel of the G550 need is reps [repetitions]. using cockpit flows Another problem occurred as good CRM practices. including more when Faciszewski called “V¹” a few minutes to figure out the ing just as I had expected. with the sights and next time.