Maiden Flight for Israeli-US Jet

The joint Israeli-American new business jet successfully completed its maiden test flight Friday. It carries a price tag of $24 million.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 06:37

New IAI-Gulfstream business jet
New IAI-Gulfstream business jet
Israel news photo: Gulfstream

Gulfstream Aerospace and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) flew the G250 super-midsize business jet, priced at $24 million, for the first time on Friday, meeting a self-imposed deadline to show off the new plane before the end of the year. IAI spokesmen said that eight or nine of the jets already have been sold, according to Business Aviation.

The three-hour and 21-minute flight from the Ben Gurion Airport was commanded by Ronen Shapira, the chief pilot of the IAI. The jet reached an altitude of 32,000 feet and the autopilot, flap retraction and landing gear systems were successfully tested in what Shapira called an “extremely smooth” flight. Further tests will include three planes, logging approximately 1,300 hours of flight time.

The Israeli-designed business jet is built to fly at an altitude of 45,000 feet with a flight range of 3,400 nautical miles, enabling it to fly non-stop from New York to London or from London to Dubai. It is being built at the IAI manufacturing plant at the airport.

The jet offers the largest cabin and the longest range at the fastest speed in its class, with 17 percent to 35 percent more floor area than any other large-cabin, mid-range business jet. The aircraft also features 19 panoramic windows.

"The G250 performed extremely well, just as we expected," Pres Henne, Gulfstream's senior vice president, programs, engineering and test, said in the release. "We're looking forward to 2011 when we'll begin delivering this aircraft to the customers who had tremendous input in its design."

The Israeli-Gulfstream jet is expected to help Gulfstream take off from its financially-troubled aerospace division, where sales plunged 18 percent in the quarter this year. Gulfstream is a subsidiary of General Dynamics.