October 29, 2012
Fred George Dallas
Gulfstream Aerospace soon will begin customer deliveries of its $24-million G280, a 3,600-nm-range super midsize jet.
Although not new to the category—Gulfstream acquired the Galaxy (nee Israel Aerospace Astra IV) in 2001 and renamed it—the G200's performance was inferior to Bombardier's muscular Challenger 300, which went on to garner nearly 400 sales in the past decade. Nonetheless, G200 operators say their passengers loved the cabin and the aircraft's reliability. Gulfstream, along with Galaxy Aerospace, succeeded in delivering more than 240 aircraft.
Still, to remedy the G200's shortcomings, Gulfstream gave its successor a new wing and empennage and replaced the 6,040-lb.-thrust Pratt & Whitney PW306A engines with a pair of Honeywell HTF7250G turbofans, each rated at 7,624 lb. thrust, giving it the best thrust-to-weight ratio and runway performance in the category. And it boasts a more tanks-full payload, 350 nm more range and better fuel efficiency than its Canadian competitor.
Of equal importance to operators, G280 has more cabin volume than either Challenger 300 or G200, along with a lower cabin altitude and reduced cabin sound levels. Its 120-cu.-ft. aft baggage compartment is the largest in its class and it is now accessible inflight because the G200's aft fuselage fuel tank has been eliminated. G280's cabin has 19 windows—four more than G200.
Up front, there is large, full-service galley and a cockpit jump seat for the flight attendant. The aft lavatory has a vacuum toilet, a first for a super midsize aircraft. And all the way up front, the G280 features a PlaneView flight deck, which will be discussed more fully when we outline the flying characteristics later in this article.
Before taking to the air, it's good to note the regulatory milestones that have been met. G280 has new CAA Israel and FAA Part 25 type certificates, and complies with Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 25 through Amendment 1-120, plus A122. The European Aviation Safety Agency CS-25 A2 type certification is in the works. The aircraft meets International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 16 and FAR Part 36 Stage 4 noise standards, along with FAR Part 34 fuel venting and exhaust emission requirements.
The green aircraft is assembled at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in Tel Aviv, fitted with a ferry package and flown to Gulfstream's Dallas-Love Field facility for outfitting and painting. The G280's wing—derived from the G550 airfoil with a slightly different twist distribution and new large, wide radius winglets—has more sweep and 495 sq. ft. of area, 34% more than the G200 wing. Similar to G550, design cruise speed is Mach 0.80, up from Mach 0.75 for G200. That yields up to 29 more kt. true air speed (KTAS), enough to shave 30 min. or more off London-New York flight time.