Iron Bird Takes Flight

Gulfstream recently celebrated the successful first flight of the G600 iron bird, demonstrating the maturity of the G600 aircraft development program.


The iron bird is a spatially correct, dimensionally accurate structure that includes a flight deck. It gives engineers an opportunity to test the flight control and mechanical systems, including landing gear, brakes and hydraulics in a ground-based lab environment before the aircraft takes flight.

During the 30-minute flight, the G600 iron bird simulated taxi, takeoff, landing, maneuvers and transitions in altitudes and airspeed, and configuration of the flight control systems.

“This first flight sets in motion the testing and validation required for the G600’s actual first flight,” said Dan Nale, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “With the iron bird, we can confirm the characteristics of the system components, improve the integration maturity, make modifications and provide those benefits in a lab environment, all while on the ground and still in the design stage. Having this resource enhances safety and streamlines the testing process.”