With the G250, Gulfstream finds G200 successor

 - October 27, 2008, 6:43 AM

Gulfstream Aerospace at the NBAA Convention last month took the wraps off the G250, a successor to the G200 (née Galaxy), marking the second new aircraft launch this year for the Savannah, Ga.-based manufacturer. The $24 million derivative is expected to address several shortcomings of Gulfstream’s super-midsize business jet offering, including runway performance, range and the lack of a hot-wing de-icing system.

Preliminary performance numbers include 3,400-nm range at Mach 0.80, a maximum speed of Mach 0.85 and 45,000-foot ceiling. The airplane will be able to take off from 5,000-foot runways at its 39,600-pound mtow. Overall, Gulfstream maintains that the G250 will offer the best-in-class cabin size, range and speed, thanks to an all-new wing and more powerful Honeywell engines. The new design, which puts a bigger cabin in the same fuselage as the G200 and adds a new T tail, also features PlaneView 250 avionics based on the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion system. According to Rockwell Collins, the G250 is the launch aircraft for this new, highly integrated avionics platform.

The new jet has been under development for about three years, and all wind-tunnel tests have been completed, Gulfstream reports. The G250 is slated to fly in the second half of next year, with certification and deliveries starting in 2011. Like the G150 and G200, the G250 will be built under contract by Israel Aerospace Industries at its facility at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and outfitted at Gulfstream’s completion facility for mid-cabin aircraft in Dallas.

“Our customers played a definitive role in designing this business jet by participating in our advanced technology customer advisory team,” noted Gulfstream president Joe Lombardo. “As a result, we are confident they’ll appreciate the G250’s state-of-the-art technology, superior performance and enhanced styling.”

Driving the G250’s “superior performance” is a new engine and a clean-sheet, advanced transonic wing design. These two improvements alone are expected to address many of the G200’s shortcomings, notably range and runway performance.
While its predecessor is powered by two 6,040-pound-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306A turbofans, the follow-on model gets a pair of Honeywell HTF-7250G engines, each of which provides 7,445 pounds of thrust. This extra 2,810 pounds of thrust will yield better climb performance, allowing the G250 to climb to FL410 in less than 20 minutes.

According to Gulfstream, the new Honeywell engines are quieter (at least 13 EPN dB below Stage 4), produce fewer emissions (20 percent below CAEP 6 requirements) and have longer maintenance intervals. An off-the-shelf nacelle and thrust-reverser system completes the powerplant.

But it is the all-new wing that is likely the most significant improvement on the G250, especially since the G200 shares a wing platform with the G100 (née Astra SPX). The wing was adapted, not optimized, for the G200, and the twinjet’s runway performance and range suffered as a result.

The G200’s leading-edge slatted wing also had the same boot de-ice system as the G100, a frequent complaint of operators who believed a $22 million super-midsize jet deserved a heated leading-edge anti-ice system. In fact, the issue was so sensitive for Gulfstream that it switched to silver-colored boots in an attempt to camouflage the system.

On the G250, operators get their wish–a wing optimized for high-speed cruise and improved takeoff performance, incorporating a bleed-air anti-ice system and big enough to hold all the fuel. Compared with its predecessor, the new wing–which appears to be a scaled-down G550 planform–has five feet more wingspan, sharper sweep and a 23-percent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency. In all, the G250’s takeoff distance is about 1,100 feet shorter than that of the G200.

Inside the New Gulfstream
While the G250 retains the same fuselage as the G200, as well as the same cabin cross-section dimensions, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The cabin is eight inches longer and the baggage area is enlarged to 120 cu ft, but this wasn’t done by stretching the fuselage.

Instead, Gulfstream created the space by removing the fuselage fuel tank found in the G200. This has the added benefit of allowing in-flight access to the G250’s baggage compartment, something that isn’t possible on the G200.

The cabin of the newest Gulfstream will include “enhanced aesthetics” by incorporating window scallops, new-design end cabinets, a redesigned and larger galley and a restyled lavatory complete with a vacuum toilet system. According to Gulfstream, the standard cabin layout on the G250 is forward club seating with a half club divan in the rear, contrasting with the standard double-club layout on the G200.

In the G250’s flight deck, the older Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 avionics found on its predecessor are replaced with the Plane-View 250 cockpit, which uses the Pro Line Fusion system as a platform. This avionics system features three 15-inch LCD screens that can display multiple formats, including a navigation map with terrain, approach and airport charts, graphical flight planning and optional synthetic and enhanced vision. Two PlaneBook electronic flight bag computers are also standard equipment.

The cockpit also includes two 5.3-inch glareshield-mounted LCD standby multifunction controllers that can function as standby instruments, EFIS display controls and remote information displays. Also included are dual flight management systems, dual “Gulfstream signature” cursor control devices, worldwide graphical weather, automatic emergency descent mode, weather radar and dual autothrottles.

Available options include a Rockwell Collins HGS-6250 head-up display (HUD II), Gulfstream enhanced vision system (EVS II) and Gulfstream synthetic vision/primary flight display (SVS-PFD). Additional options include predictive wind shear for weather radar, XM graphical weather, paperless cockpit, en route e-charts and an intercontinental package with enhanced capability and redundancy for oceanic and remote-area operations.

Other Systems
The G250 will have a brake-by-wire system that features anti-skid, independent mechanical backup and a brake temperature monitoring system. In addition, the new jet will have auto braking, which Gulfstream said will set the airplane apart from others in its class.

According to Gulfstream, the G250’s flight control system consists of a fly-by-wire spoiler and rudder system, as well as hydromechanical elevators and manual ailerons.

The G250’s Honeywell 36-150 APU minimizes surge-control valve operation, making it 10 dB quieter than the G200’s APU system. A new starter-generator improves reliability on the ground or in flight, where it can be used at altitudes up to 40,000 feet.

Meanwhile, the G250’s 14,600-pound-capacity fuel system includes an improved single-point refueling sequence that requires less than 20 minutes for fill-ups, Gulfstream said. It also features a new fuel quantity measuring system with fault-tolerant system that prevents a single failure from dashing out quantity. Gulfstream has been testing a fuel-system mock-up since last month.

As is standard on all Gulfstreams, G250 pilot and maintenance training will be provided by FlightSafety International’s Savannah learning center. A full-motion flight simulator is scheduled to be up and running at the facility before Gulfstream delivers the first G250 in 2011.