Bombardier has entered the final phase of a 14-month-old airworthiness campaign after the fifth Global 7000 business jet entered flight testing on 30 January.
The debut for flight-test vehicle (FTV) 5 keeps the programme on track for gaining type certification in the second half of this year.
FTV5, which Bombardier has nicknamed "the masterpiece", is the first Global 7000 in the test fleet to be equipped with a full, four-zone interior, in addition to production-representative flight controls, propulsion and aircraft systems. Interior equipment includes a cabin entertainment system powered by a Ka-band data link, allowing passengers to stream high-definition entertainment in flight.
"It’s a very exciting time for the programme and the team as we enter into the certification phase and get closer to the aircraft's entry into service in the second half of this year," says Michel Ouellette, Bombardier’s senior vice-president for the Global 7000 and Global 8000 programmes.
Bombardier has now logged more than 1,300 flight hours in the Global 7000 test campaign and completed fatigue testing on a full airframe, the company says.
The maiden flight of FTV 5 also comes as business prospects in the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range market appear to be recovering after a two-year dip.
In mid-January, General Dynamics reported that subsidiary Gulfstream saw a 78% increase in firm orders for the G650 and G650ER in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with the same period a year earlier. The jump represented the best sales quarter for the two models since 2014, according to General Dynamics.
The 7,400nm (13,700km) range of a Global 7000 with eight passengers sits between the 7,000nm range of the G650 and the 7,500nm range of the G650ER. The Global 7000 offers more room, with a cabin about 2.5m (8ft 2in) longer than the other Gulfstream models.