Since Gulfstream delivered the first G280 business jet in November 2012, the Savannah, Georgia-based aircraft manufacturer has delivered more than 10 of the type to customers and seen the fleet log more than 3,100h and 1,800 cycles.
Now that the aircraft has received type certifications from the US Federal Aviation Administration, EASA and aviation authorities in Azerbaijan, Canada and China, Gulfstream is looking ahead to gaining additional supplemental type certificates that will enhance the capability of the super-midsize aircraft.
Gulfstream has designed the G280 to be vastly different from its predecessor, the G200, and one example is the PlaneView 280 flightdeck with upgraded Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics.
Gulfstream announced on 25 July that it received the STC to offer an enhanced vision system (EVS) II and head-up display (HUD) II in its G280 super-mid-size business jet, which will be followed by a few additional avionics features planned to roll out through 2014.
The aircraft manufacturer plans to deliver the first customer aircraft retrofitted with the technology within the next two weeks after it leaves its completion centre at Dallas's Love Field airport, says Tim Pannell, completion sales executive at Gulfstream. The camera system was tested on one of three flight-test aircraft to obtain the STC.
On the G280, the EVS II infrared camera is installed above the nose of the aircraft to capture images of the outside environment. These pictures are then projected onto a digital LCD head-up display above the captain's seat, designed by Rockwell Collins. The system combines this image with information about the terrain and positions of runways and taxiways at airports, allowing pilots to perform low-visibility approaches to an altitude as low as 100ft (31m).
The EVS II/HUD II system is available as an option on new production G280 aircraft, or as a retrofit for models already in service. More than half of the customers committing to the G280 have chosen to install the system so far, says Pannell.
The EVS II system is standard on the large-cabin G650, which also has the camera installed above the nose, and the G450 and G550 large-cabin models, which have the camera below the nose. Gulfstream's other midsize offering, the G150, has EVS II as an option with a head-down display.
Gulfstream's Synthetic Vision-Primary Flight Display (SV-PFD) will also be available as an option for the G280 after the airframer secures an STC for the technology, which it expects to receive by the third quarter of 2014.
The synthetic vision system creates a colour three-dimensional image projected on the primary flight displays in either a half or three-quarter window.
The SV-PDF transposes visual information from Rockwell Collins's terrain database with the position of the aircraft, as well as its heading and altitude. Synthetic vision is an option on new G550, G500, G450 and G350 models and as a retrofit on in-service aircraft.
Synthetic vision complements the EVS II benefits and offers situational awareness capabilities when the vision of the EVS II camera is limited by bad weather or limited visibility at night. The display can place a box on the correct runway, extend the runway centre line and show mile markers, says the manufacturer.
Gulfstream is also planning to add a few additional features to the G280 to enhance the functionality of the avionics and the in-flight entertainment, which should be rounded out in 2014.
In the fourth quarter of this year, the manufacturer foresees being ready to connect customer aircraft with the G280 with the Future Air Navigation System (FANS) 1/A, says Pannell. FANS provides a satellite data link between the pilot and air traffic controller to improve communication and to improve the flow of air traffic. The avionics system is already equipped with the capability, but the STC allows Gulfstream to connect and activate the system as a standard piece of the flightdeck.
Gulfstream will also apply for an STC to use Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband L-band service in the cabin for in-cabin wi-fi in 2014, which would complement the Gogo Biz air-to-ground connectivity available on the aircraft today. The airframer says it is developing a tail radome to house the antenna and expects to install the technology on aircraft in late 2014.
This satellite connection will allow G280 customers to use the satellite-based wi-fi connection on flights beyond the USA, as the ATG system is set up to only work within the country. The aircraft is also outfitted with an International Communications Group ICS-220A Satcom system to provide flight data in the cockpit and an optional Iridium phone.