Aircraft Review: Gulfstream G280

Thomas W. Mitchell Executive Vice President
Essex Aviation International Private Jet Gulfstream G280

The Gulfstream G280 has somewhat of an interesting origin story, one that starts with humble beginnings. In 2001, Gulfstream, the Savannah-based aerospace manufacturer, acquired the Galaxy Aerospace program from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and, with it, the IAI Galaxy — a super mid-size business jet that, despite some unique performance characterizations, had poor market traction. Following a name change, the Galaxy became the Gulfstream G200.

Just four short years later, Gulfstream, in partnership with IAI, started designs for an updated version of the G200; this new design, dubbed the Gulfstream G250, was intended to compete with the likes of the Embraer Legacy 500, the Cessna Citation X and the Bombardier Challenger 300. The G250, which took its maiden flight on December 11, 2009, proved to be a clean sheet design. The updated model boasted a number of changes, including a larger interior cabin with additional windows, a new Honeywell HTF7250G engine, extended range and heated leading-edges of the wings for anti-icing.

Just two years after its entry into market, the G250 underwent another name change, and became the Gulfstream G280.  With over 200 G280’s built to date, it has become a formable competitor within the super-mid cabin size aircraft of today.

In this flight review, we’ll take a closer look at the Gulfstream G280, including its technical specifications, design options, investment costs and more.

Table of Contents

The Gulfstream G280 at a Glance

 

Maximum Range 3,800 nm / 6,667 km
Top Speed 0.85 Mach / 566 KTAs / 1049 km/h
Typical Cruise Speed 0.80 Mach / 534 KTAs / 988 km/h
Maximum Altitude 45,000 ft / 13,716 m
Cabin Dimensions
Length 32 ft 3 in / 9.83 m
Height 6 ft 1 in / 1.85 m
Width 6 ft 11 in / 2.11 m
Exterior Dimensions
Length 66 ft 10 in / 20.37 m
Wingspan 63 ft / 19.2 m
Height 21 ft 4 in / 6.5 m
Passengers Up to 10

Cockpit Design

The Gulfstream G280 has successfully incorporated Gulfstream-designed avionics technology, starting with the PlaneView 280 flight deck, being part of the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion line. Designed, in Gulfstream’s own words, to “augment situational awareness, reduce workload and boost pilot efficiency,” the PlaneView 280 features window displays with moving map, graphical flight planning, synoptics and an Integrated Flight Information System. For an additional cost, you can also add the heads-up display (HUD) option, XM satellite weather and a surface management system.

The G280’s cockpit also comes equipped with an Enhanced Flight Vision System that enables pilots to safely land in low-visibility conditions and Synthetic Vision Primary Flight Display with 3D graphics. The G280 does use traditional yokes instead of sidestick controllers. In order to ensure pilots’ comfort — especially during longer haul flights — the cockpit is also fitted with ergonomic seats with shearling covers.

While the G280 features two high-thrust Honeywell HTF7250G engines, it also includes standard autothrottle and autobrake systems to help produce a smoother experience during both flying and landing operations.

Cabin Design

The Gulfstream G280’s interior layout can comfortably seat up to 10 passengers, with sleeping accommodations for up to five. The G280 also offers four possible seating configurations across two living spaces; you can see all four configurations below. For the purposes of this review, we’ll focus on Figure 1, the standard 10-passenger seating configuration.

Figure 1 — 10-Passenger Seating

Figure 2 — 10-Passenger Seating with Divan

Figure 3 — 9-Passenger Seating

Figure 4 — 8-Passenger Seating

Photo Credit: Gulfstream

Upon boarding, passengers will pass through the G280’s fully equipped galley — typically designed using polished wood veneer, stone countertops, stainless steel finishes and ample cabinet space — into the main cabin.

The forward cabin features four executive-style seats, normally upholstered with choices of leather and arranged in a club configuration around retractable tables made of polished wood. Moving into the aft cabin, passengers will find six slightly more narrow seats, with two facing seats on the left with a table in between, alongside the remaining four place conference-table configuration.

Photo Credit: Gulfstream

Toward the rear of the aircraft, passengers will find a lavatory featuring a vanity with ring lighting, a stylish glass bowl sink, a full-size closet and a vacuum toilet with an upholstered and padded lid.

The Gulfstream’s in-house Design Center is able to customize all the design elements within the G280, from paneling and surfaces to upholstery and flooring, to the buyer’s specifications. Gulfstream’s Design Center is highly regarded both for quality and their variety of available offerings.

Photo Credit: Gulfstream

Finally, at the very rear of the aircraft is the baggage compartment, which offers 120 cu. ft (3.4 cu. m) of storage and can handle up to 1,980 lbs. (898 k).

Technology

The G280’s entertainment system is considered well-equipped, including a forward HD monitor, dual Blu-ray/DVD players and Gulfstream’s CabinView moving-map flight information system. Gulfstream also offers a number of upgrades, including 12 in. monitors at each seat, XM satellite radio and SwiftBroadband or optional connectivity systems. Passengers can control these entertainment systems, as well as adjust cabin lighting and temperature, all from the convenience of their phone using Gulfstream’s iOS-enabled Cabin Management System.

Exterior Design

While the Gulfstream 280 features the same external fuselage length as the G200, the G280’s design eliminates the rear fuel tank, which added 17” of interior length.

The most dramatic change made to the G280 is its wing design. This design uses Gulfstream’s G550 airfoil and, compared to the G200, has a larger area of 495 ft² vs. 369 ft². The G280’s wing design also incorporates anti-ice (heated) leading edges — a significant improvement over the G200’s leading edge deicer boots.

The G280’s fuselage added four new windows, as well as attached a new T-tail with larger horizontal and vertical stabilizers. In all respects, these changes, along with the higher performance HTF7250G engines, allow for much higher performance outputs and make the G280 a more competitive aircraft within the super-mid-size market.

Acquisition Cost

Industry estimates place a new Gulfstream 280 in the lower-to-mid-$20M range. The price for a pre-owned G280 varies depending on the vintage, prior utilization and general condition — all of which can be determined by an aviation professional.

Direct Operating Costs

Note: All direct operating costs listed are estimated; actual expenses will vary based on total annual flight hours.

Fuel 

Approximately $1,218 per hour

Maintenance

Approximately $1,107 per hour

Engine Overhaul 

Approximately $858 per hour

Miscellaneous 

Approximately $590 per hour

 Total Direct Costs

Approximately $3,773 per hour

Source: Conklin de Decker

Fixed Costs

Note: All fixed costs listed are estimated; actual expenses may vary.

Crew 

Approximately $587,600

Crew Training

Approximately $81,200

Hangar

Approximately $52,200

Insurance

Approximately $52,800

Miscellaneous

Approximately $143,771

Total Fixed Costs

Approximately $951,571

Source: Conklin de Decker

Is a Gulfstream G280 Right for You?

The Gulfstream 280 has become a population option within the highly competitive mid-size cabin aircraft market. The general consensus is that the G280 is a significant improvement on the G200 model, especially in terms of performance, cabin size and amenities.

When selecting any aircraft, there is much to consider; therefore, it’s imperative that you take the time to truly understand the nuances of any model you may be deliberating. This careful evaluation can prevent you from making the mistake of purchasing to much (or not enough) aircraft for your particular needs. If you’re considering the G280, it’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with other Gulfstream products, as well as the differences between competitors’ models.

How to Acquire a Gulfstream G280

Whether you’d like to learn more about the Gulfstream G280 or any other business jet model, you’ve come to the right place. At Essex Aviation, we specialize in providing high-net-worth individuals, corporations and family offices with the professional insight they need to navigate any aircraft acquisition. And, with a combined 100+ years of experience in the aviation industry, you can trust that the consultants at Essex have the expertise necessary to steer you straight.

For more information about any of our services, please contact us today.

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