The flagship of the Gulfstream fleet has flown proudly in the past couple of months. The G550 received not only JAA/EASA approval–which went markedly more smoothly than the protracted process that eventually led to European approval of the GV–but also the Collier Trophy, presented annually by the National Aeronautic Association for “the greatest achievement in aeronautics in the United States with respect to improving the performance, efficiency or safety of air or space vehicles.” NAA was particularly taken with the G550’s enhanced vision system, PlaneView avionics suite and 6,750-nm range.
The G550 itself celebrated by setting world speed records in class between Washington Dulles Airport and Berlin Tempelhof Airport, Germany, on March 8, covering the 3,780-nm route at an average speed of Mach 0.85 in 7 hours 24 minutes. Three days later the same airplane flew 3,441 nm from The Netherlands’ Rotterdam Airport to Washington Dulles at an average speed of Mach 0.87 in 7 hours 27 minutes, taking to 11 the number of city-pair speed records set by the type since it entered service last September. Crewing the PlaneView-equipped flight deck for the record flights were Gulfstream G400/G550 international captains Sean Sheldon and Tony Briotta. Photo shows G550 before departure from Rotterdam.