by Adam Van Brimmer
A good mallet bag carries more than sticks. A helmet goes in one corner and pads store in another. Even boots and saddles have a place. Not every polo tool fits in a bag, though. One unique piece of equipment allows riders to play chukkers in Hamburg and beach polo in the Dubai sand, all in the same day. The Gulfstream G280 business aircraft will cover the 4,900 kilometers between those locales in a matter of hours. The G280 has drawn acclaim for its range, fuel economy and state-of-the-art cabin amenities. Aviation Week hails the G280 as the champ of its class, calling it “the aircraft other airframers will use as a basis of comparison for years to come.”
“The drive from the top was to be best in class,” says Trevor Esling, regional senior vice president, International Sales, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Gulfstream. “We like to say we are the best, but we don’t say it until we can back it up with facts.”
The G280 was designed to be best in class from the start of development. Gulfstream engineers incorporated features from the company’s large-cabin, longer-range aircraft, the best-selling line of business jets in history. The G280 design called for an advanced wing as well as engines and a tail optimized for the airframe to boost performance. Increased cabin space and an in-flight accessible baggage compartment ensure passengers can travel with desired equipment. A new cabin management system improves the passenger experience and a state-of-the-art flight deck with autobraking system reduces pilot workload while improving aircraft performance and capabilities. The result is a new generation aircraft.
The G280’s cabin has a clubhouse feel, from the leather seats and divan to plush carpeting, upholstered walls and handcrafted wood fixtures and cabinetry. The G280 was developed at the same time as Gulfstream’s flagship, the ultralong-range G650ER, and the two jets share many of the same cutting-edge cabin amenities. The Gulfstream Cabin Management System is a favorite of technology-loving customers. The ability to control the aircraft’s audiovisual options, such as high-definition LCD monitors, dual Blu-ray/DVD/CD players and the CabinView moving map system, with a handheld mobile device such as an iPod, makes every trip even more enjoyable.
The G280 also features more subtle cabin enhancements. Gulfstream’s engineers incorporated LED technology into the cabin lighting for improved light quality and greater energy efficiency. Another favorite feature in the G280 is in-flight access to the baggage compartment. The luggage area measures a spacious 3.4 cubic meters, plenty of room for extra gear. The cabin cycles 100 percent fresh air into the aircraft interior every two minutes, and the cabin pressure ranges from 1,829 to 2,134 meters to minimize fatigue so passengers feel rested and refreshed upon arrival. To put that number in perspective, the typical commercial jetliner is only pressurized to 2,438 meters.
Gulfstream’s stellar reputation, much like that of a prestigious polo club, speaks to the manufacturer’s longtime focus on the customer experience.