Gulfstream’s next generation private plane is getting some fighter jet tech

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Gulfstream

The G500 represents the first of Gulfstream’s next generation private jets. Even though, the plane won’t enter service until sometime in 2017, Business Insider got a sneak peak at some new technology found never before see on a private jet. It’s larger G600 sibling will debut in 2018.

Like most large, modern civilian jets, the G500 will use fly-by-wire technology. This means that the pilot’s control input is relayed to the wings and the tail of the aircraft through a series of computers, relays, and servos as opposed to a set of mechanical pulleys and cables.

In addition to fly-by-wire, Gulfstream has replaced the tradition control yoke with a side stick. Side stick technology isn’t exactly new. Civilian manufacturers such as Airbus, Bombardier, and Embraer have been using the input system in some way, shape, or from since the late 1980s. Military aircraft began deploying the tech even before that.

Proponents of side stick technology say that removing the cumbersome control yoke from in front of the pilot affords the flight a crew a better view of the instruments while creating a better work environment with more room to operate.

However, it is what Gulfstream has added to the traditional side stick that makes the G500 special.


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Etihad Airways Airbus A380 Cockpit.
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Hollis Johnson

Traditionally, when a pilot pulls back on the control yoke sitting in front him or her, the same input is reproduced by the yoke in front of the co-pilot. However, this isn’t the case with current civilian side stick technology. As a result, pilots flying aircraft with this tech can’t really tell which control inputs their colleagues are making. It’s a short coming that has drawn criticism from some in the aviation community who believe passive side sticks don’t convey enough information to pilots – especially in times of emergency.


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The Gulfstream G500 side stick.
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Gulfstream

That’s where defense contractor BAE Systems comes into the picture. Over the past couple of decades, BAE has been working on advanced side stick technology – which it calls “Inceptors”. This includes active side stick technology that gives pilots force-feedback and in situations where there are more than one pilot – electronically coupled sticks that allow both members of the flight crew the ability to experience one another’s control inputs.

The technology is current used on the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II and Korea’s T-50 fighter jets as well as Brazil’s KC-390 tanker.


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Gulfstream G500 cockpit.
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Gulfstream

With the G500, BAE’s military-grade technology will make its civilian debut. It will serve as part of the aircraft’s advanced glass cockpit equipped with no less than 10 touchscreen displays feature tablet-style interfaces.

No other up-coming commercial aircraft has indicated it will feature BAE active side-stick technology.