G500: Under the Ice

Another phase of environmental testing has been successfully completed in the Gulfstream G500 aircraft development program.

Gulfstream engineers have finished wind tunnel testing to evaluate the aerodynamics of the aircraft with ice buildup on the leading edges of the wing and tail and to verify the functionality of the anti-icing system.

In icing conditions, moisture and extreme cold can combine to quickly add several inches of ice on an aircraft, which changes the aerodynamics of how the aircraft flies and handles.

Along with wind tunnel testing, the first phase of ice shape testing was conducted to demonstrate that even with ice on the wing, the G500 will still perform as needed for continued flight and landing. During this phase of testing, artificial ice shaped from hard plastic foam is mounted on the wings to simulate icing.

Before any business jet earns certification, the aircraft manufacturer must demonstrate that if an anti-icing system is not in use, the aircraft can fly at least 22.5 minutes in an icing environment before it lands. In a separate certification track, the manufacturer must also have a new aircraft’s anti-icing system tested and approved.

Gulfstream experimental test pilots and flight test engineers expect to conduct real-world, in-flight ice testing early next year. Entry into service for the G500 is planned for 2018.