Graham Warwick/MONTREAL

AT THE US NATIONAL Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) convention in late September, Bombardier will announce that it is to guarantee the empty weight of the Global Express business-jet - a move which will silence any doubts raised over the aircraft's range.

The empty-weight guarantee, together with existing guarantees on specific range, will underscore the manufacturer's promise to deliver 11,700km (6,330nm) at Mach 0.85, says John Holding, executive vice-president, engineering, for the Bombardier Aerospace Group - North America.

The announcement will help Bombardier to counter one of the criticisms used by rival Gulfstream in the increasingly aggressive competition for the long- range business-jet market. In promoting its own Gulfstream V, it has used the lack of an empty- weight guarantee to question Bombardier's range projections.

Gulfstream is guaranteeing a GV range of 12,000km at M0.8. At the M0.85 design speed chosen by Bombardier for its guarantee, the GV's range will be 10,200km, the manufacturer says.

Holding says that the move to guarantee empty weight results from increasing confidence in weight estimates as detailed design of the Global Express nears completion and hardware begins to emerge. Weight estimates provided by the CATIA three-dimensional computer-aided-design sys- tem are proving extremely accurate, he says.

Holding hopes that another question mark will be removed later this year when the first Challenger Special Edition (SE) emerges from Bombardier's Tucson completion centre. This corporate version of the Canadair Regional Jet, will feature a multi-compartment cabin, similar in size to Global Express' and will confirm whether, Bombardier's 2,725kg completion allowance for the Global Express is realistic.

Gulfstream offers a 3,175kg completion allowance for a smaller cabin, but Holding argues that Bombardier's standard-aircraft definition includes equipment which will have to be installed in the GV during completion, reducing the weight available for cabin outfitting.

The Challenger SE will be delivered to Bombardier's Middle East distributor, TAG, in November, and used to demonstrate the benefits of a wide body, multi-compartment, cabin to Global Express customers. TAG has announced five firm orders and five options for Global Expresses.

Source: Flight International