General Dynamics’ subsidiary Gulfstream Aerospace has completed first flight of its G500 business jet.

The G500, part of Gulfstream’s new family of clean-sheet aircraft, took off from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

During the 2hr16min flight, the aircraft climbed to an altitude of 15,000ft, and achieved an air speed of 194kts.

Experimental test pilots Scott Martin and Kevin Claffy were at the controls, while flight test engineer Bill Osborne provided on-board support.

The crew evaluated primary flight control systems, handling capabilities in take-off and landing configurations, performed a simulated approach and go-around, and tested the systems using the Symmetry flight deck touchscreen controllers.

"The successful first flight of N500GA represents the tremendous investments we have made in the G500 programme."

Gulfstream programmes, engineering and test senior vice-president Dan Nale said: "The successful first flight of N500GA represents the tremendous investments we have made in the G500 programme.

"We have achieved this milestone thanks to Gulfstream’s world-class research and development teams, and our commitment to setting new standards for business aviation."

Prior to taking to the skies, the G500 completed more than 34,000 hours of testing.

The flight-test programme will comprise five aircraft, including a fully equipped production aircraft to test the interior elements and integration of aircraft systems with the passenger experience.

Powered by the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA engine, the aircraft can fly 5,000nm at Mach 0.85.

Transport Canada has issued type certification for the PurePower PW814GA and PW815GA engines. The G600 aircraft will be equipped with PW815GA engines.

Gulfstream expects to receive the US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certification for the G500 in 2017 with plans to put it into service in 2018.

Image: The G500 climbed to a maximum altitude of 15,000ft during test flight. Photo: courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.