The Better Jet: Challenger 300 vs. Gulfstream 200 Galaxy
The super-midsize class of business aircraft is a fairly new addition to the private jet industry, but there is no lack of competition. The Gulfstream 200 Galaxy was one of the first private jets that could be classified as super-midsized. Not long after came the Challenger 300, a super-midsized private jet from Bombardier designed to compete head-on with the G200. Which jet won?
One of the biggest selling points of super-midsized private jets is their large, comfortable cabins. The cabins of both the Challenger 300 and the Gulfstream 200 fit between eight and nine passengers. Their widths and heights are almost identical, but the Challenger 300’s cabin is four feet longer. The Gulfstream 200 has the larger cabin volume by a margin of 8 cubic feet. It also wins in the baggage category with about 45 extra cubic feet of baggage space. If needed, the Gulfstream 200 can carry 1,600 pounds of baggage more than the Challenger 300, although ever needing to stuff 2,400 pounds of anything into a 150 cubic-foot space is dubious.
The two business jets differ in range when loaded to their maximum takeoff weights. The Challenger 300 has a range of 3,100 nautical miles, while the Gulfstream 200 has a range of 2,900 nautical miles. Both jets can comfortably tow passengers cross country on non-stop flights, but the extra 200 nautical miles of the Challenger 300 give it the range needed to fly missions that its competitor can’t: New York to London, for instance. However, when both jets are loaded with four passengers and available fuel (a more likely scenario than being loaded to maximum takeoff weight), the Gulfstream 200 wins out in maximum range, flying 3,312 nautical miles.
Another area in which the Gulfstream 200 outperforms the Challenger 300 is in its fuel burn. On a 600 nautical mile trip with fuel reserves and four passengers, the G200 burns 8% less fuel.
The biggest difference between the two jets is their runway performance. On a sea level runway, the Gulfstream 200 requires 6,340 to take off – 1,620 feet more than the Challenger 300 requires. On a runway at 5,000 feet elevation at 77 ˚ F, the takeoff distance of the Gulfstream 200 is 8,800 feet while the Challenger 300 needs only 6,860 feet of runway under the same conditions.
Both jets quickly climb to their cruise altitude of 37,000 feet. The Challenger 300 reaches cruise altitude in 14 minutes; the Gulfstream 200 reaches it in 19.
The Gulfstream 200 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306A engines, with a required inspection interval of 6,000 hours. The Challenger 300 is powered by two Honeywell HTF 7000 engines. Their required inspection interval is on condition, a potential savings in down-time and money if the engines hold up well.
The last area in which these private jets should be compared is in price. According to the most recent 2006 prices, the Challenger 300 costs 19.21 million new, and the Gulfstream 200 costs 21.65 million.
So which jet won the contest? The Gulfstream 200 wins in terms of baggage capacity and fuel economy, while the Challenger 300 far outstrips the G200 in cabin length, range, and runway performance.