Germany's Grob launched the GF 200 four/five seater to offer a modern, high performance alternative to the thousands of four/six seater business aircraft in use worldwide.
Grob's initial design aims with the GF 200 were to create a comfortable and roomy pressurised four seater capable of cruising at 420km/h (225kt) at 26,000ft. Power was to be supplied by a Porsche piston engine, but Grob later switched to the turbocharged Textron Lycoming TIO540 flat six. Another powerplant selection switch will see production aircraft powered by a Teledyne Continental TSIOL550, also a turbocharged flat six.
A key feature of the GF 200 is its pusher engine installation. The engine, which is buried in the airframe and mounted on the aircraft's centre of gravity, drives a three blade constant speed propeller via a carbonfibre reinforced plastic shaft. Grob says the major advantage of the pusher configuration is that, unlike tractor aircraft, the airflow over the airframe is laminar.
Grob also claims the GF 200's composite airframe brings significant benefits in drag reduction compared with conventional construction. Other features of the aircraft include its advanced profile wing with winglets and retractable undercarriage.
The GF 200 was first conceived in 1983 by Grob's head of design K H Fischer, whose concept was to apply the company's extensive knowledge of composite construction to a new four place high performance four seater. The project was postponed until 1989 because of potential difficulties with certificating a composite aircraft. Serious design effort resumed with the assistance of the German Ministry for Research and Technology, resulting in the unpressurised prototype's first flight on November 26 1991.
Planned GF 200 developments include the GF 250 pressurised model, the stretched six seat GF 250/6, six seat turboprop powered GF 300 and the six to eight seat twin turboprop powered (supplying power through a single driveshaft) GF 350.
Grob is searching for a partner to help it fund production.
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