Although a gloomy sky hung over Geneva Palexpo Center, the view could hardly have been better yesterday morning for a group of aviation journalists invited by Gulfstream on a breakfast flight over the Alps in a G200.
The 45-minute flight, hosted this year by Gulfstream president Joe Lombardo and his wife Nelly, has been a tradition at EBACE since 2002. That initial flight also took place in a G200, chosen that year to celebrate Gulfstream’s purchase of the type certificates for it and the smaller G100 from Israel Aircraft Industries. This year, in recognition of the upcoming delivery of the 200th G200, the model again took to the skies over Mount Blanc, serving as a très élégant setting for a continental breakfast of croissants, pastries, fruit and champagne.
The flight also reminded the invited guests that the G200 continues to be a worthy competitor in the super-midsize business jet market, and wholly deserving of the Gulfstream name. In fact, the G200’s cabin offers slightly more head room than the larger G550 thanks to the model’s slightly oblong fuselage shape. Some may remember that the performance of the original G200, certified in 1998 and then called the Galaxy, suffered from a higher-than-planned operating weight. Gulfstream redesigned the interior, shedding around 600 pounds and bringing performance back to the level originally intended by the airplane’s designers.
IAI still builds and test flies the G200 and G150 (derived from the G100, which IAI called the Astra SPX) in cooperation with Gulfstream. IAI pilots then fly the green aircraft to the U.S. for paint, interiors and customer delivery. Powered by two 6,040-pound-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306A turbofan engines, the G200 cruises at Mach 0.80, has an NBAA IFR range with four passengers of 3,400 nm, a maximum cruise altitude of 45,000 feet and an mtow of 34,450 pounds.