Gulfstream officially launched its midsize business jet, the G250 this morning at NBAA in Orlando.
If the "G" in front of "G250" did not stand for "Gulfstream", one would be inclined to discount the validity of the forward-looking statements - largest cabin, longest range and fastest speed - trumpeting the unveiling of the newest super-midsize business jet.
With Gulfstream in fact behind the new twinjet, an evolution of the G200 super-midsize built for the company by Israel Aerospace Industries, it is a given that there is a mountain of engineering and early testing behind the G250 claims.
Internally launched in 2005, Gulfstream engineering teams working with their IAI and other counterparts have completed windtunnel testing at three different facilities and determined performance numbers for the fuselage with new wing, winglets and wing-to-body fairings.
Test runs also verified designs for the aircraft's T-tail and nacelles that will hold the new Honeywell HTF7250G turbofan engines, an upgraded derivative of the HTF7000 that powers the super-midsize Bombardier Challenger 300.
The engines will generate 7,445lb of thrust (33kN), up 9% from the Challenger 300's HTF7000 turbofans. Honeywell is also providing the auxiliary power unit for the G250.
The results point to an aircraft that will carry more than 1,815kg (4,000lb) of payload for nearly 4,630km (2,500nm) and almost 454kg for almost 6,300km. That means New York to Paris with four passengers at Mach 0.82 or London to Dubai at the same speed.
Competitors with similar cabin sizes would appear to pale in comparison, including the Hawker 4000, Challenger 300 and the G200, according to Gulfstream.
The new Embraer Legacy 500, also a super-midsize aircraft, has projected payload versus range performance figures similar to the Challenger 300. The jet's maximum cruise altitude is 45,000ft (13,725m), equivalent to most of its competitors.
The G250 will carry that payload in the largest cabin in the class and reach its destination at a faster clip, says Gulfstream, largely due to a new wing design that will be produced by Spirit Aerosystems.
The G250 will have a maximum cruise speed of M0.85 compared with M0.82 for the Challenger 300, M0.83 for the Legacy 600 and M0.84 for the Hawker 4000.
The new wing features a wingspan that is wider and longer by 1.5m compared with the G200, with more sweep and a 23% improvement in aerodynamic efficiency at M0.80 and higher speeds.
Despite being optimised for high-speed flight, the wing also performs well at low speeds, promising a 335m shorter take-off run compared with the G200.
The wing features a single extending Fowler-style flap on each side and there are no leading-edge devices. Overall the combination of more efficient engines and optimised wing will yield a 13% lower fuel burn at M0.80 cruise compared with the G200, says Gulfstream.
At 26.5m3 (935ft3) volume, the G250's cabin will be the largest in the class, it will have the longest length (7.87m), 17-35% more floor area and the largest baggage compartment, complete with in-flight access.
Although the cabin structure itself is the same length as the G200, Gulfstream removed the fuselage fuel tank behind the cabin to increase both the size of the cabin, the toilet and the baggage area.
The aircraft's 6,622kg fuel load will be carried in the wings and centre wing box structure as well as in one forward-belly and one aft-belly tank. Gulfstream says no crew action will be required to manage the fuel. Like Gulfstream's new high-end jet - the G650 - the G250's cabin is being designed to prevent single failures from grounding an aircraft.
The G250's cockpit will feature Rockwell Collins' latest integrated avionics technologies as part of the PlaneView250 system.
Included will be three 15in (380mm) displays, a Rockwell Collins HGS-6250 LCD head-up display and Gulfstream's EVS II infrared camera system, enabling operators to qualify for category 1 instrument approaches down to 100ft.
Also included is Gulfstream's synthetic vision primary flight display using Rockwell Collins' synthetic vision technology.
The aircraft will feature a largely traditional control system with the exception of dual fly-by-wire rudder control and FBW multifunction spoilers.
Roll control will use manually powered ailerons with geared tabs, while pitch control will use dual hydro-mechanical elevator controls with electronic hard-over protection.
The G250 also features brake-by-wire with auto-braking, the only aircraft in its class to offer the feature, says Gulfstream.
First flight for the G250 is set for the second half of 2009, followed by a 1,300h flight-test programme with three aircraft, leading to US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certification in 2011 and entry into service the same year.
IAI will build the fuselage, empennage and landing gear, as well as performing the initial phase assembly, passing the aircraft over to Gulfstream for final-phase assembly and completion.
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