Gulfstream G280
Gulfstream G280

Gulfstream G280

This super-midsized business jet, which received U.S. certification in 2012, outshines competing models with its speed, range, and spacious cabin.

It’s rare that a decade-old airplane betters newer designs but such is the case with the super-midsized Gulfstream G280. Compared with several competitors, the G280 is faster, has longer legs, and in some cases, offers a longer, wider, and taller cabin—all for around the same price. And with it you get Gulfstream’s globe-spanning product support, not an inconsequential consideration when you’re looking at a jet with seats for 10 passengers and a 3,600-nautical-mile range. Gulfstream ranked second among all airframers for its support of its business jets in a recent survey by our sister publication, Aviation International News. 

Among the unschooled, there is a tendency to label the G280 as a descendant of the G200, an airplane Gulfstream inherited when it bought Galaxy Aerospace in 2001. The G200 came up short in so many ways—indicative of an aircraft that begged for further improvement. Gulfstream performed major surgery, trying to correct the myriad deficiencies in that aircraft, but ultimately decided that what the airplane really needed was new engines, wings, avionics, and systems. It kept the stand-up cabin fuselage, but that was about all. 

Gulfstream G280 Interior
Gulfstream G280 Interior

What emerged in 2012 was a comfortable and efficient aircraft that can cover both transcontinental and transatlantic routes. The G280 boasts a cabin that is six feet, three inches tall (although there is that dreaded 1970s-style trenched center aisle); seven feet, two inches wide; and 25 feet, 10 inches long. Cabin width is just two inches narrower than that of legacy, large-cabin Gulfstreams such as the G450 and G550. The G280 can alight fully laden from runways shorter than 5,000 feet and cruise at speeds up to 482 knots or Mach 0.85. 

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The aircraft is fitted with twin Honeywell HTF7280G turbofans, rated at 7,445 pounds of thrust each. Quiet and fuel-efficient, they power the G280 up to 41,000 feet in just 20 minutes and reduce cabin noise. The redesigned transonic wing considerably shortens the G280's required takeoff distance under full load. The wing features new winglets and is designed with a more efficient and highly swept airfoil. The G280 includes various fly-by-wire controls, such as for the spoilers and rudder, and brake-by-wire on the landing gear. These systems work in concert to allow steeper approaches and surer stopping on shorter runways. A more efficient T-tail has been added to the empennage. 

Gulfstream G280 flight deck
Gulfstream G280 flight deck

Up front, a PlaneView flight deck built around the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion system guides the G280. It features three large, high-resolution 15-inch LCD displays and can be outfitted with synthetic and enhanced vision, enabling landings in the worst weather and the most challenging topography.

While the fuselage is unchanged from that on the G200, Gulfstream optimized it by moving all the fuel into the wings, which created more usable cabin space as well as in-flight access to a baggage compartment larger than you can find in some full-size business jets. Cabin layouts are available in eight-, nine- and 10-passenger configurations, including double-club and club with half-club opposite a three-place, side-facing aft divan.

More cabin room means noticeably more ­lavatory space as well. The lav on the G280 is 48 inches wide—nearly double the 26-inch width of the one on the G200. The G280 lav has a 10-cubic-foot wardrobe closet, two large windows, and a sink with a raised ledge. It also has a toilet system that’s powered by a vacuum generator up to 16,000 feet; above that altitude, it is powered by differential air pressure. The 120-cubic-foot baggage hold is accessible in flight at altitudes up to 40,000 feet and can accommodate 1,980 pounds—enough room for a whole lot of clothes. 

The redesigned galley, while the same size as the one on the G200, has increased stowage space, a gasper-cooled ice drawer, and a sink with slide-out work surfaces. It also has a modular design, allowing customers to specify differing locations for things like coffeemakers, ice drawers, glassware, and liquor. Another clever and important innovation is drawers that can accommodate all sizes of catering trays. Options will include espresso makers, choice of microwave or convection oven, and stemware storage. The G280 cabin also has a forward closet.

Lighting comes from 19 cabin windows and LEDs. In-flight entertainment packages include a satcom system with multiple headsets, high-definition television, and large, flat-panel cabin displays. 

Cabin altitude at 45,000 feet is a comfortable 7,000 feet and the G280 has Gulfstream's "100 percent fresh air system." The company has turned to Honeywell to provide all the environmental-control and cabin-pressure systems on the aircraft. The G280 employs Gulfstream's Cabin Essential architecture: all major cabin systems are redundant so that no single-point failure will compromise functionality. Gulfstream says this means "the cabin lighting always illuminates, water is always available, and an entertainment source always works."

The cabin management system can be regulated from a panel in the galley or by passengers via an app that controls temperature, lighting, entertainment, and connectivity via air-to-ground or satellite services. The electrical system incorporates large-aircraft features that include independent generators on each engine and a quiet auxiliary power unit. Both the interior and exterior are comparatively quiet. An acoustical curtain that can be drawn over the entry door markedly quiets the cabin while the Honeywell engines help the G280 to considerably exceed Stage 4 noise standards. 

For as little as $12.5 million, you can buy a six-year-old G280 that will hold its own against brand-new aircraft costing more than twice as much. It’s a deal. 

Gulfstream G280 in flight
Gulfstream G280 in flight

2015 Gulfstream G280 at a Glance

Price (new): $24.5 million 

Engines: 2 Honeywell HTF7280G turbofans, 7,445 pounds of thrust each.

Crew: 2 

Passengers: 8–10 

Range: 3,600 nm 

Fast cruising speed: 482 knots 


            Height: 6 feet, 3 inches

            Width: 7 feet, 2 inches

            Length: 25 feet, 10 inches