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Aircraft Review : Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio

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Aircraft Review : Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio


In the utopia world of elitism, then a 110 ft Mega yacht is high up on the scale. But there is still another level again that says I'm far richer and more powerful than you. Welcome to the world of business jets and in reality only one word here fits in with cache. That word is "Gulfstream".


The Gulfstream world of this upper exclusive club is again segregated with the latest G800 being the current Blue Ribbon holder. But the G600/G700/G800 Series was built upon the last series of G500/G550 Series, that series evolved out of the Gulfstream V as the GV-SP.


Complicated? well these business class aircraft do have a complex heredity. Niches, mostly at the whims of their exclusive customers creates variants of variants to satisfy their exclusive needs, but one thing that will always win out is range and speed. But let us not forget the real reason you have a Gulstream in this upper echelon of society, money and wealth.


A variant of the Gulfstream V or GV-SP with a new flightdeck display system, airframe aerodynamic and engine improvements and the main entry door is moved forward, this aircraft is marketed as the G-550.


Presented here is a Gulfstream G550 version for the X-Plane Simulator and the price is US$31.95, but in that you will get both an X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 versions. Oddly there are very few Gulfsteams in X-Plane, a few but not one really worthy of our talents, so obviously we welcome a quality aircraft to fill in that empty void from first time developer AKD Studios


Compared to the Gulfstream V, drag reduction details boost range by 250 nmi (460 km) and increase fuel efficiency. Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is increased by 500 lb (230 kg) and takeoff performance is enhanced. A seventh pair of windows is added and the entry door is moved 2 ft (0.61 m) forward to increase usable cabin length. The PlaneView flight deck features cursor control devices, Honeywell Primus Epic avionics, standard head-up guidance system by Rockwell Collins and enhanced vision system by Elbit, improving situational awareness in reduced visibility conditions.


Initial long-range cruise altitude is FL 400-410, first hour fuel burn is 4,500–5,000 lb (2,000–2,300 kg) decreasing for the second hour to 3,000 and 2,400 lb (1,400 and 1,100 kg) for the last hour. Flight hourly budget is $700-950 for engine reserves, $250 for parts and 2.5 maintenance hours. It competes against the Bombardier Global 6000, which has higher direct operating costs and less range but a more spacious cross section, and the Dassault Falcon 7X with fly-by-wire flight controls, better fuel efficiency and a wider but shorter cabin. More importantly Range is an astounding 6,750 nmi (7,770 mi, 12,500 km), the aircraft is a transcontinental, trans oceanic capable aircraft.


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First thoughts are on that extraordinary 93 ft 6 in (28.50 m) wingspan.


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Without doubt there is a notable talent here. But the G550 from AKD Studios is still a first project. As noted it is very good, but not at or to that extreme level that you would expect from say Aerobask. There are a few areas still here that are under fine development that can only come with experience, then add in the current X-Plane Beat phase (B9).  First impressions are of a clean but currently basic aircraft. 


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The modelling is actually excellent, shape and contours are quite perfect, love those huge fine wings with vortex generators, in fact the vortex generators are positioned on every surface which is an eye for detail.


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But there is still that absolute finer detail missing. Most notably around the windows with no screws or rivets..  the huge oval double the size of normal cabin windows needed that little (far) more attention to get their huge size looking right, the internal band does not fit well, and the glass needs more detail to stand out. I am not trying to nitpick here, but this level of this category it requires ultra detail.


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Powerplants are two  Rolls-Royce BR710 C4-11 turbofan engines, 15,385 lbf (68.44 kN) thrust each. The pod design is lovely in shape and proportions, but they feel again slightly unfinished in the finer detail, mostly at the thrust reversers, exhaust.


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Ditto the tail, again beautifully modeled but missing the finer detailing.


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The nosewheel is exquisitely crafted, an amazing amount of small detail, down to links and nuts, but again feels slightly unfinished... with the lighting that has no glass.


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Twin rear assemblies are trailing link, a normal gear arrangement on these executive jets. Again all the modeling and detail is first rate, but the unfinished look and it looks even more pronounced here on the main gear, is it just needs that something more to perfect.



The entrance is via a tunnel like area, into a world of teak wood and gold highlights.


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This generation of Gulfstream jets gives you a lot of space inside as they are 43.11 feet long by 7 feet wide by 6 feet tall giving it a total cabin volume of 1669 cubic feet, they are the crème de la crème of cabins in size and fitouts.  They can carry a crew of four, 2 pilots, 0–2 attendants plus 14–19 passengers plus a payload 6,200 lb (2,812 kg). This cabin is HUGE.


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The layout here is two sets of club seating (eight chairs) and two large rear sofas.


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The forward tables are both animated and fold out, but the tables hidden away show the excessive space is highly noticeable, so you feel there are two chairs or a row missing (crew seats?) so the layout doesn't feel quite right.


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There are some nice gold highlights, and cabin fittings are well done...  but there are no window shades (very rare in this category) and the window surrounds are not fitted correctly and very noticeable if by any window. In fact  there is not a lot of functionality in the cabin as most switches are all static, except for the high downlighting switches.


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Going through to the rear there is a nice bathroom with enough gold to satisfy any Arab Sheikh, not sure they would want to use this toilet though? In the very rear is the baggage compartment which is well done, but there is currently no external hatch (noted as a WIP).


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The galley/buffet forward is extensive and well done with some nice highlights, at least there are not items sitting around waiting to be thrown around the cabin as most do.


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The cabin is very good and even very nice, but in this jet category the competition in this area is extremely high, as noted you feel that more seating is required and a bit more functionality to compete at this level, but for a first development it is very good overall.


One odd thing is that there are no cockpit doors to separate the office from the cabin, a poor oversight? Another oddity is that there is a significant step up into the cockpit, so you feel there is a small step missing.


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Most private jet cockpits are small, even cramped and the G550 is no exception.


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The G550 cockpit is very fitted out, even the highlight of the aircraft...  looking in closer it feels a bit in not being totally finished. Mostly in areas like animations (movements) and hollow vents. Both well made pilot seats don't move and are positioned slightly too far back, the armrests are not animated either. The third crew seat behind the Co-Pilot is not workable either...   and so on.


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Forwards and the instrument panel is huge as there is so much detail here, that you get your money's worth delivered here alone. There is an extensive Overhead Panel and you also have a very large even bulky centre console.


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Power on....  Yokes are excellent, thin and tawny. There are the options to have the yoke clipboards, both on, both off, or even the choice of either pilot yoke.


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Symmetry Flight Deck

The Gulfstream Symmetry integrated flight deck is based on the Honeywell's Primus Epic integrated avionics system, the Symmetry Flight Deck is one of the most advanced in business aviation. There are four huge displays Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display (AMLCD) that use the Next Generation Flight Management System (NGFMS). Basically they breakdown to the two external PFD (Primary Flight Displays), and the two inner MFD (Muliti-Functional Displays).


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Notable here is the detail of the Gulfstream specific glareshield "Display Controller"....  this system allows you to interface with the PFD and MFD and set settings.


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It is basically a simple push-button controller and easy to access and set. Selections include; PFD, MAP, SENSOR, FLT REF, TEST, CHKLIST - SYSTEM, 1/6 - 2/3, TRS, NAV, HUD. By my estimation about 60% of the system is currently working? But this is a very deep system, I suppose more detail will come with updates.


Upper left buttons select the system area you want to access, and the right display has selection buttons to access the item, it is complex, but easy to use in the same instance. Once you work out where each selection is (or have a printed guide) then the system is easy to use.


Here you can select 2/3 of the PFD (or have the engine or data readouts left 3rd of the screen) or use FULL which gives you the full basic flight instruments Artificial Horizon top and the Horizontal Situation Indicator lower. Artificial Horizon, Speed and Altitude tapes, Bank roll scale and roll pointer, Vertical Speed markers, Pitch markers, ILS bars and AOA (Angle of Attack) guide.


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There are 3 HSI selections with 120/180/360º options.


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The left panel systems is separated into two sections selected from the "Display Controller" (DC) , "Upper" and "Lower". DUI 1 is the PFD, DUI 2 is the MFD.


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These sections can be changed to show other system items, including; AC/DC Power, APU/Bleed, Brakes, ECS/Press (Environmental), Eng Start, FLT Controls and traffic. Selections are done by pressing the corresponding button to the line. The same sections can be selected in either panel via the Upper or Lower DUI.


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MFD : The twin centre displays (DUI 2) have Left and Right main panel displays, Left is the Engine Outputs, Right is (Top) Centralised Warning Panel (CWP) or Caution Advisory Panel (CAP), (Bottom) Checklist


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You have also a main panel have the same menus, you can change them from the DC, but also directly by the in-built menus.


Provided are; Map Data, Aircraft Centre (Heading or Plan modes), Hdg, Prev, Next, World and Map which is also a systems menu?


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Both menus allow you to show Map data (Airports, VORs, NDBs...) as noted there is also a large system menu for each screen, including; AC Power, DC Power, Doors, Fuel, Hydraulic, MAP, CMC, ECS/Press, FLT Controls, Summary. And either display can be used.


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It is very complex set of menus and required a fair bit of study, but it quite comprehensive as well that covers all the G550's systems. Notable is that currently none of the displays pop-out, but they are quite complicated with an interactive interface that created to mimic a pointer.


Overhead Panel (OHP) is really well set out and easy to use. Digital numbers are all used in the readouts. Systems covered are; the Electrical system with all its buses, Full Fire Protection system, the full Hydraulic system, Gulfstream Fuel system and APU system and start up timing.


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Standard X-PLANE FMS system is at least easy to use, but I would have preferred the authentic Honeywell Avionics.


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Pedestal is excellent. Top are the backup instruments in a G5 Tape/Artificial Horizon and centre heading instrument, the Gear lever and gear position panel is far right.


The main twin-throttles and rear reverser levers are a lovely chrome design, look nice, nice to use. Set each side are the standard Air-brake and Flap levers (UP-10-20-? but could be 30º). Rear pedestal is all radar and radio panels, nicely done is the use of a FMS frame to hold the Radio settings, a simple but clever way of doing it.


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The Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) is positioned in the glareshield contained each end by each "Display Controller" system.


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AFCS is dual system, fail-operational, for both the Autopilot (AP) and the Auto Throttle (AT) subsystems. This is accomplished by hosting each system in a different modular avionics unit with two lanes in separate processors. The purpose of the AFCS is to provide Flight Director (FD), AP yaw damper and trim functions. The autoflight system receives computed lateral (roll) and vertical (pitch) steering commands from the FD system for the autopilot and for display on the Primary Flight Display (PFD). In the event the AP is disengaged the pilot can manually fly the steering commands presented on the PFD. The AP and AT systems make up the subsystems of the autoflight system.



ADK uses the interaction with a tablet for menus. There are two, both placed for each pilot on the window frame.


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There are eight menu tabs; Fuel Payload, GND (Ground), AviTab, METER, PERF (Performance) Calculator, Checklists and Audio Volume.


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FUEL : Here you can set your fuel load (Kgs and Lbs), Set Cargo, Set Payload, Passengers, and even the passenger weight. The changes are shown in fuel load, GW (Gross Weight) and ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight. You can see internally into the cabin as well. Three options are also available; Reset Data, Set, and Random. Shown here is reset on the lower left, and loaded on the lower right.


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GND : There are a few options "Ground Handling Page". On the Static Elements there  is a GPU (Ground Power Unit) AC, but also noted a DC Unit and a ASU, but these last two are not currently working in the menu?


And there are Chocks and a passenger car. You can open the main door, again a WIP progress Cargo door. Open ALL Doors and Close ALL Doors. Both the static elements Passenger car have separate menus.


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GPU, flags, pitot covers and chocks are all presented, but no inlet or exhaust engine covers?


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The stairway is excellent with a drop down section and beautiful chrome rails. The Tesla 3 car is a bit odd? It is first not to scale and second the wheels don't rotate, so it sort of moves around like in a fairground. ADK have tried to do the same passenger delivery and return as with the Hot Start Challenger 650, but hasn't pulled the idea off as well, a rethink of the idea is needed here?


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AviTab : AviTab (Plugin Required) is available and a nice to have.


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METAR : This tab will give you the latest METAR (METeorological Aerodrome Report) weather report by entering your current ICAO. I found it crashed (froze) so I can't say it worked?


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PERF (Performance) Calculator : There is a two page comprehensive performance calculator that can take data from the FUEL and METAR pages and fill in the required data, including : (Takeoff) DATA, AIRPORT INFO, TAKEOFF SPEEDS, FLAP LIMITS, (Landing) DATA, AIRPORT INFO, LANDING SPEEDS and FLAP SPEEDS.


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SETTINGS : In settings you can set the various aircraft options, including; IRS Alignment (Time), Refuel (Time), Hide Yokes, Pause on TOD (Top of Descent), EFB Units (Kg/Lbs), Aircraft Temp units (Cº/Fº), Aircraft Weight Units (Kg/Lbs), Sync (Baro), Nosewheel (Roll/Yaw/Tiller, Tail Registration, Kill Objects and optional Yoke Clipboards.


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CHECKLIST : There is a very good checklist that you can also check off (green), navigation is easy and so is the resetting of the lists.


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SOUND : Sound panel is currently quite basic, with sliders for (Master) Volume, Exterior Volume, Interior Volume, Co-Pilot Volume and Radio Volume.


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Flying the Gulfstream G550


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Start up is easy. APU power on, then the Bleed (APU) and "Isolation", then you select Master Start and Crank (Ignition)....


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...  selecting START, you flip up the cover and select the right or left engine you want to start...  then when the HP (High Pressure) gets to around 16%, you flip up the corresponding FF (Fuel Flow) lever on the "Fuel Control" panel below the throttles. All engine start is FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine (or electronics) Control) controlled. Notable are the excellent readouts for the voltages, every selection you make (even the switching on the Bleeds) is registered on the APU or voltages readouts, it looks and feels extremely authentic as is also the engine start up procedures.


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Start up engine sounds are also absolutely excellent, very impressive, you really feel those RR engine at your back and externally by the aircraft which are both very forceful, throaty and purposeful... impressed. Once the engines are running, you clean up the OHP (Bleeds, Start, Crank and APU), and then you are ready to go.


Warnings in C-Caution and W-Warning are related to the Centralised Warning Panel (CWP), and a really big feature is in testing the controls and seeing your actions on the FLT Controls panels.


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Another feature I like is the brake pressures being in your face...  here are my foot brake pressures being on show, a full regular (pinky finger) brake pressures are also registered, but have no effect on slowing the aircraft, so it is all down to the  footwork, but I love the readouts.


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It is busy here today at LUX (Luxembourg Airport - ELLX).


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Finally after a departure of a Cargolux B747F, I can line up on runway 06.


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Power up those two two  Rolls-Royce BR710 C4-11 engines and your moving...  fast.


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You get that awesome roar in your ears and your just gone!


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ELLX runway 06/24 is as bumpy as hell but you can cope here, 165 kts and you rotate (Flap 10º)...


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You have to be seriously careful in not to over-rotate, it is very easy in doing that and in setting the take-off trim quite low, this baby wants to climb!


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In fact the G550 has an enormous climb rate of 3,650 feet per minute and almost straight up...


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You have to love this...  a Gulfstream and X-Plane 12, Heaven.


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Well you can stay in heaven for a very long time at a 6,750 nmi (7,770 mi, 12,500 km) range, with a High Speed Cruise: M0.85 at 41,000 ft (12,497 m) or the standard Long Range Cruise: M0.80 at 41,000 ft (12,497 m), and you can cover the ground with a Service ceiling: 51,000 ft (16,000 m) God that is almost as high as Concorde...   impressive isn't it.


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Cockpit lighting has about 12 adjustment knobs, but setting the different lighting options is a bit hit or miss, mostly it all works, but like a lot the different choices breaks down to that most work, but a lot don't... it feels all a "bit last minute to get it done ready". I'll explore more then add back in later into this section...  overall it looks like this, when sorted though it should be really good as the basics look good.


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Cabin lighting is the same, buttons under each lighting panel only work the odd light, or even the set of lights on the next panel...  I don't know if there is roof lighting or any galley lighting?


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External lighting is not refined either...  main land and taxi lights are a bit overexposed, however there is nice navigation, beacon and strobe.


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Ice (wing lighting) is basic, the wheel-well lights work but the tail lighting doesn't. There is also a "Pulse" effect on the main landing lights? Overall again the external lighting is all a bit hit and miss.


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There is a CAS (Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System) that works with (in my case) Traffic Global, I never got the A/T (Auto Throttle) to work? and a note from the developer says it's coming in an update, doesn't matter here anyway as most Private Jets flying is usually using the manual throttle. Cruising at FL400 (40,000ft) is the only way to fly halfway round the globe.


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TOD (Top of Descent) and it is time to go down. The G550 can climb high, very high. So you tend to be a bit more excessive in the rate of descent. Here I'm using a rate of 2,700 fpm to go down, and in doing that steep rate the aircraft will protect itself by deploying the airbrakes automatically, but be aware also to retract them later as they don't auto close.


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I pass EVRA-Rika, Lativa while still screaming down at 2,500 fpm, but you need not worry as everything rubs off very quickly in both speed and altitude. The one thing you realise are that these Gulfstreams are incredibly versatile thoughout all their performance profiles.


Sounds I am liking. Audio here is not overly excessive or even brilliant, but with the long distance cruise you can do with this machine that you can arrive without a headache, so no repeatable loops or droning (thank god). Being a long distance hauler that is important. In time I would expect more and better sound detail, but for now they are fine. X-Plane 12 is quite spectacular when it wants to be...  a far, far cry from X-Plane 11.


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First 90º turn to the centre line from  EVRA RWY 18, yes it is as brilliant in feel as it looks...


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Second 90º turn to the centreline of the approach...


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Riga is not a particularly hilly or mountainous approach but you do have a GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System) if you need it. Final lineup to RWY 18...  Again Spectacular.


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Full flap (30º) your approach is around 130 knts...    Flap detail and operation very good by AKD, in feel lowering the flaps doesn't throw you around either, so it is a smooth approach phase.


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Final, final approach speed is around 125 knts, you don't get thrown around either with the size of this Private Jet of which can happen in smaller machines, it feels more like a commercial aircraft than a light jet.


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(Shaking my head) Spectacular machine isn't it...  I struggled to get the G550 nose up correctly for the flare, honestly I need to find the right point on the pitch trim to get that phase right, practise as usual will always help.


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I get the pitch I want in the end and it is nice touch landing at around  118 kts, very close to the stall speed around 115 knts. Powerful thrust reversers are nice, but they need a bit more detail than just showing the cans...  I didn't get the ground airbrake on landing because I couldn't find the selector, it is a "Arm" button far rear of the centre console under a flap?


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The full landing configuration is shown on the PFD, I really still can't get over how much I like this visual FLT arrangement.


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Hello Riga, Latvia....   but where can I go next, this Gulfstream gives me a lot of great global options.


GLF550_AKD - LVRA 34.jpg




There are only five liveries with the package, but a full list is being created on a Google Doc site. A paintkit is included. I have selected a few off the Docs page here. AKD livery is the default. Included in the package are AKD House, N345LC, NetJets N528QS and the two Polish Airforce.


GLF550_AKD - Livieries_Paintkit.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_AKD.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_N721KJ.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_N892CH.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_N111AM.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_N550F.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_N709DS.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_N528QS NJ.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_N141JE.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_N269WR Pres.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_PAF 01.jpgGLF550_AKD - Livieries_PAF 02.jpg



In world of the elite, then the word of Gulfstream is the biggest token you can play in this upper exclusive club. The Gulfstream G600/G700/G800 Series was built upon the last series of G500/G550 Series and that series evolved out of the Gulfstream V as the GV-SP.


Here we have the previous generation in the G550 which was discontinued in July 2021, but this aircraft is still a major global trotting machine with both oceanic and transcontinental in range, it can fly high as well to an almost sub-orbital 51,000ft.


First an almost disclaimer on the review and the aircraft. The Gulfstream G550 is a first time project by AKD Studios and obviously they have to pick an extremely complex aircraft to start with, add in a release in the middle of a new X-Plane 12 Beta run (B9) and you can expect a lot of bugs and weird things with the aircraft. It's not like that at all in context, in fact it flies very well.

But there are many areas here also not finished or refined, that includes also the missing manual with the aircraft that reflects here in less technical detail to be covered and features that can be missed. 


Impressive however the G550 still is. Systems are comprehensive and are excellent in operation, including the excellent Gulfstream "Display controllers" (menus) and all DUIs are covered by a four display screen arrangement that has the built in Gulfstream Symmetry integrated flight deck is based on the Honeywell's Primus Epic integrated avionics system. Custom CAS (warnings), Ice and rain protection system (X-Plane 12), IRS system and a full (menu) Electronic Flight Bag (EFB)... it's an impressive list.


Modeling is very good but your not going to get extreme Aerobask quality here, but many of the areas are really just not only refined or even completed, annoying are the cabin window frames that are badly (or rushed) designed, the missing external cargo door and all the lighting inside and out feels again only half finished. But I'm looking more and far down the road here as the basics are very good, if excellent in areas, it is the old adage of what a difference a month could make to the project.


Personally I absolutely love the Gulfstream G550. X-Plane has wanted a really excellent transoceanic Private Jet for decades and here it is, it is also available in X-Plane 11 and more importantly in X-Plane 12 in the same value package of just over US$30. For your money you get a lot of aircraft with it's Gulfstream related systems. in 2023 it will be certainly the power jet you need in the X-Plane 12 Simulator, like I said I love it, and now I just want a lot more of flying the machine to every corner of the Globe.


X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


The Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio is NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore


GLF550 - Ultimate Business Jet by AKD Studio

Price is US$31.95


This aircraft is X-Plane12 supported, but to note it is in Beta form.



X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 - both versions included

-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 1 GB
Current version : 1.0 (October 28th 2022)

Download for the Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio is 1.03GB


And the final install in X-Plane Aircraft folder with the above loaded liveries is; 2.53gb. Authorisation is required.

The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder.


Simbrief proflie is;



Only the standard Laminar Reseach FMS manual is supplied. And no aircraft manual is currently available

  • FMS_Manual


Designed by AKD Studios

Support forum for the Gulfstream G550



Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

30th October 2022

Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews


Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP

Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.00B7 (This is a beta review).

Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99

Scenery or Aircraft

- ELLX - Luxembourg Findel Airport v2.1  by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.95

EVRA - Riga International Airport v2 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$18.50


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved


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14 hours ago, Stephen said:

That price is really good value for what you get with the G550, it is a great simulation, another month of development and it will get there, so well worth the investment

The only thing I regret is the most important of all, the documentation which is costing me another $$$ to buy. Had to do the same with the Citation X. I invest in them as I think they are worth'd.

Now it's a matter of how real is XP12 can be!?...

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  • 1 year later...
4 hours ago, raorlowski said:

Question to any and all. I use Simbrief normally to do flight plans, however it doesn't have the G550 added for an airframe yet. What does everyone else use for this? Or is there a way to find it I haven't found yet? Thanks in advance!

It's here https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/topic/276924-g550-simbrief-profile/


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