Winner: Gulfstream

Location: Savannah, Georgia, USA

Achievement: First flight of the Gulfstream V, destined to be the first of the new ultra-long-range business jets to go into service.

GULFSTREAM IS NOT alone in targeting the market for an ultra-long-range business jet, but its Gulfstream V became the first to be flown in November 1995.

The milestone was more remarkable for the fact that it took place exactly on schedule, having been promised by Gulfstream when it launched the programme three years earlier at the 1992 Farnborough air show. The first flight, which lasted 1h 18min, was also the maiden flight for the new BMW-Rolls-Royce BR710 engine.

Gulfstream promises a previously unmatched 12,000km (6,500nm) range for the ultra-long-range GV when it goes into service. The GV will also have an impressive cruising altitude of up to 51,000ft (15,500m), while environmental systems in the aircraft's 15m-long cabin are designed to provide passengers with a 6,000ft cabin altitude and continuous fresh air flow.

Gulfstream says that the design developed from an extensive series of meetings with customers, whose input lead to key decisions over range, cabin size and cruise speed as well as overall levels of cabin environment and reliability.

The outcome was demand for a longer-range aircraft which would give corporations freer access to the new opportunities presented by emerging markets around the world.

To help meet the size and range requirements, the GV not only launches the BR710-48 turbofan, but also the AlliedSignal RE-220 auxiliary power unit.

To underline its faith in reliability, Gulfstream is offering an extended 20-year parts and labour warranty on primary and secondary structure, with six years on systems and components, as well as five years on the engines.

Other aircraft now being developed, such as the Bombardier Global Express, are likely to provide Gulfstream with tough competition in the new ultra-long-range market, but the Awards judges felt that the GV deserved recognition for being the first to fly.



Finalist: Collins Commercial Avionics

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA

Achievement: Pioneering the role of integrated avionics supplier for the new Canadair Challenger 604 long-range business jet.

THE CONCEPT OF appointing a single systems integrator to handle avionics design is now common for airliner and military-aircraft programmes. Collins Commercial Avionics has brought the advantages to corporate aircraft, with its pioneering contract to provide a total design-to-certification service for the Canadair Challenger 604 long-range business jet.

Collins has performed the role of avionics-systems integrator (ASI) for a range of aircraft programmes, but never before had a business-jet manufacturer assigned this responsibility to a single supplier.

A dedicated team of Collins engineers worked alongside the airframe design team at Canadair's base in Montreal, and a second avionics-integration cockpit mock-up was installed there. The Collins ASI team also worked with launch customers to ensure that the Challenger 604 cockpit met their requirements.

Canadair finally completed certification on 20 September, 1995, six weeks ahead of schedule, underlining one of the key advantages of using a single-source integrator.

The Challenger approval was also another first for Collins. The manufacturer gained an initial certification for its AVSAT satellite-based communications and navigation system, itself designed as an integrated solution.



Finalist: Raytheon Aircraft Company

Location: Wichita, Kansas, USA

Achievement: Bringing advances in fly-by-light technology to the general-aviation community

FLY-BY-LIGHT TECHNOLOGY is already being exploited for military aircraft and large airliners, but based around expensive systems which would simply prove uneconomic for smaller aircraft. Raytheon Aircraft has, therefore, set about developing a more affordable technology, which will open up fly-by-light for smaller aircraft, right down to aircraft the size of the single-engined Beech Bonaza.

Fly-by-light offers clear technical advantages over conventional control systems, with their mechanical linkages and electrical wiring. Not least is a major weight saving, which Raytheon believes could total some 2.5% of airframe weight.

So far, the technology has tended to be based around expensive fibre-optic databuses and transceivers costing upwards of $5,000. Instead, Raytheon has set about developing a low-cost distributed system, which uses a cheap fibre-optic network to interconnect with smart fault-tolerant nodes, sensors and actuators.

Raytheon compares its system to a network of personal computers replacing an expensive mainframe.

Trials have taken place with engine controls aboard a Beechjet and a first certification is planned by 1998. Such technology should be aboard production aircraft within the next five years and Raytheon adds that a total control-by-light aircraft is probably less than a decade away.


Source: Flight International