In addition to its gracious curves, long legs, class-topping cabin size and game-changing cockpit, the Bombardier Global 5000 offers an equally alluring feature in light of today's economic climate - supreme residual value.
"I think the Global 5000 has the strongest residual value in the history of business aviation," says George Chapman, a former head of market research at Bombardier and now the director of aircraft consulting for Maryland-based AvPro, which bills itself as the world's largest corporate aviation brokerage firm.
The market's conclusion would appear to validate Bombardier's decision in 2002 to launch two versions of the venerable 11,130km (6,000nm)-range Global Express, in particular a slightly smaller aircraft that could make a transcontinental dash at M0.89 and go head-to-head with the Gulfstream GIV-SP in the large-cabin sector.
The rest is history. As of 31 July, Bombardier has delivered 60 Global 5000s and 87 of its siblings, the Global Express XRS. When added to the 147 original Global Express aircraft sold from 1999-2005, Bombardier has delivered 294 Globals, well beyond the original goal in 1996 of selling 250 by 2011.
The shorter of the twins, the Global 5000 was designed to take eight passengers and crew of three 8,900km at M0.85. The Rolls-Royce BR710A2-20 turbofan-powered twinjet, with a fuselage shortened by 0.81m (32in) compared with the original Global Express, first flew in 2003 and entered service in April 2005.
The other offspring, the Global Express XRS, has the original cabin size, but more range, up to 11,390km from 11,130km. Both feature a 4,500ft (1,370m) cabin at 45,000ft, down from the 6,000ft altitude in the original aircraft.
For Global 5000s produced in 2005, the first year the aircraft became available, the twinjet has rocketed to 130% of its original value, up to $45.5 million from $35 million for an average equipped aircraft. Bombardier today sells the Global 5000 for around $40 million. Positive residual values for other aircraft built in 2005 include 106% for the Dassault Falcon 900EX with EASy cockpit, 118% for the Gulfstream G550, 116% for the Gulfstream G500 and 118% for a Global Express XRS.
An increasingly important value proposition is that the Global 5000 and other equivalently sized business jets appear to be protected by hot sales from niche sectors, including the petrochemical industry, from an economic downturn that Chapman says is about to befall aircraft smaller than super-midsize offerings like the Challenger 605 and Dassault Falcon 2000EX. "Anything below that, the 'petrodollars' are not interested," he says.
What does interest them and others in the large-cabin sector are the Global 5000's virtues - a spacious, quiet interior, elegant styling and long legs. Chapman says the Global 5000 is often the choice for operators on the US East Coast since the aircraft can reach destinations in Europe and south-west Asia non-stop. Most often, he says the operators tend to use the Global 5000 for trips of 8h or less.
Based on input from customers, Bombardier in February announced a 740km increase in range for the Global 5000 by increasing the maximum take-off weight from 38,780kg (87,700lb) to 41,957kg, allowing for a fuel tank capacity increase and an associated range boost from 8,890km to 9,630km at M0.85. With that range, customers also have more cabin room, with 2.49m width at the centreline and 1.91m height, numbers Gulfstream is just now homing in on with the new $60 million G650.
Typical seating includes a crew of three and eight passengers in the cabin, although seating for 17 passengers is possible. The crew rest area was initially removed to accommodate the shorter fuselage, but Bombardier is studying options for restoring that function, says Antonio Santos, a company sales engineer.
Cabins have a three-zone seating area with forward and aft lavatories and passenger-controlled multi-coloured LED lighting throughout. The 10,000h LEDs can bathe the cabin in upwash, downwash and accent lighting in white, red and amber, with red, green and blue available as an option, says Santos. Windows, at 28 x 41cm (11 x 16in) are relatively small compared with a Gulfstream's (the new G650's windows are 71cm wide), but by increasing the window reveals on the inside of the cabin, Bombardier was able to increase window cross-section by 183%, allowing more light to enter the cabin and standing passengers to see the ground. Santos says changes to the windows were spawned by customer requests.
The Global twins continue to be built on the same assembly line in Toronto as the original aircraft, and completions are handled in three locations - by Bombardier in Montreal or by approved installation centres Midcoast Aviation in St Louis, Missouri and Savannah Air Centre in Georgia. Non-Bombardier component providers for the aircraft include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the wing and centre fuselage, Rolls-Royce for engines, Honeywell for the avionics and auxiliary power unit and Safran subsidiary Messier-Dowty for the landing gear. Bombardier subsidiaries build the nose, forward fuselage, horizontal stabiliser and rear fuselage, vertical stabiliser and other components, all of which are delivered to the company's de Havilland plant in Toronto for final assembly.
Although most of the aircraft structure is metal, the Global's composite horizontal stabiliser represented the Bombardier's first foray into composite primary structures. The company last year launched its first all-composite jet, the Learjet 85, an entry that spans the midsize and super-midsize sectors.
For connectivity, the Global 5000 features a redundant Ethernet-based local area network, complemented by an in-cabin telephone system capable of interfacing with Aero H+ Inmarsat service, single-channel Iridium and single-channel Swift 64 high speed data. Cabin electronics system (CES) provider Rockwell Collins says Swift Broadband will be available soon. The CES also provides the crew with in-flight downloadable maintenance diagnostics for the cabin systems.
Although Rockwell Collins provides the networked CES for the Global 5000 and XRS, earlier versions of the Global Express contained a variety of analogue systems built by companies including Baker Electronics, now owned by Honeywell, Audio International and Pacific Systems. With CES, Rockwell Collins integrated a wide range of cabin functions into a common operating environment, including lighting, water and waste systems. Controls are all managed through wired or wireless touchscreens and power distribution is handled by solid-state circuit breakers. "It's a dual-redundant networked system," says Tim Rayl, senior director of marketing for business and commercial systems for Rockwell Collins. "For a 14h mission profile, you don't want to have the cabin down."
Cabin systems are now more reliable, but not perfect. The most often voiced complaint is that the touchscreen controls are sluggish. Rayl admits the systems can be slow to react, particularly the earlier versions. He says a new version of the touchscreen controls is being installed in new aircraft. "There is a plan to update the field with new versions," he says. "It's primarily a software upgrade, but some customers will get hardware updates at the same time."
Rockwell Collins will also play a key role in the most substantial upgrade on the aircraft in its short history - installing a new integrated avionics in place of the legacy Honeywell Primus 2000XP system, starting in 2011. Called Bombardier Global Vision, the system is based on Rockwell Collins' new Pro Line Fusion architecture. In place of the 2000XP's four 320mm-diagonal cathode ray tube displays and two engine-instrument and crew-alerting system displays will be four 381mm-diagonal active matrix liquid crystal displays in a T-format, interfacing with the Rockwell Collins head-up guidance system and virtually all other cockpit systems. Global Vision avionics will include personalised formats of display information, electronic checklists, maps with graphical flight planning, Rockwell Collins MultiScan weather radar and an integrated cursor control panel with trackball cursor.
Headlining Global Vision will be Rockwell Collins' new synthetic vision displays (see sidebar), which will be shown across the entire primary flight display. Standard equipment will also include a Rockwell Collins head-up display that displays flight guidance information and a forward-looking infrared image captured by a CMC-built sensor.
Other Global Vision features include dual electronic charts, controller-pilot datalink communications, wide area augmentation system and LPV approaches with RNP 0.3 capability. Rayl says operators will be able to update the database in the triply redundant flight management system wirelessly.
Fusion could further boost the residual value of the Global 5000. In the meantime, it is not hurting that many new aircraft in the super-large sector are a long time in coming - more than four years for the Gulfstream G650, for example. Oddly, AvPro's Chapman says Gulfstream's new offering has been a boon for the secondary Global family market. "Some feel it has helped sales - it validates the large-cabin concept and deliveries are years away."
SYNTHETIC VISION BOOSTS SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
The hottest new integrated avionics package in the business aviation market is now coming alive in a laboratory in central Iowa. That is where Rockwell Collins engineers and technicians in Cedar Rapids are integrating the hardware and software elements that will ultimately coalesce into Pro Line Fusion, coming first to launch customer Bombardier for the Global twins as the Global Vision cockpit, starting in 2011.
Although Global Vision will feature workload-reducing benefits like full-screen synthetic vision, multi-scan weather radar, advanced flight management with a graphical user interface and an integrated control display out of the box, it is Fusion's future capabilities, that are cause for pleasant anticipation on the part of pilots and techies alike.
Using the Global 5000's 40 x 30° LCD head-up display, which for the first time will have its processor included with the integrated avionics rather than standalone, Collins will "fuse" forward-looking synthetic vision information derived from a terrain and obstacle database with forward-looking infrared images acquired by the Global 5000's standard Bombardier Enhanced Vision System.
Currently, operators equipped with BEVS can gain approval to substitute the IR image in the HUD for natural vision down to 100ft (30m) above the ground from 200ft on a Category I instrument approach, increasing the chances of sighting the runway lights and completing the arrival when visibility is low.
Industry and regulators in the USA and Europe however are plotting a regulatory and technological course to be able to use fused information as a means of replacing natural vision to get even lower, perhaps all the way to touchdown. A joint RTCA/Eurocae working group met last week to establish a concept of operations.
With the performance of a fused system not yet determined by regulators and multiple delivery dates for Fusion on the books, Collins has had to hedge its bets about what will be needed. "We anticipate a dual synthetic vision system [with a second database and server device] for fused approaches," says Tim Rayl, the company's senior director of marketing for business and commercial systems.
NEW KID ON FAA's BLOCK IS GREENER TOO
"Out with the old, in with the new" is an expression that gives Larry VanHoy some heartache when applied to the large jet-powered aircraft he has used to help research safety and next-generation air transport (NextGen) system technologies.
Until 2006, the US Federal Aviation Administration pilot at the William J Hughes Technical Center near Atlantic City, New Jersey, would sometimes get to fly N40 for the work. A 1968 vintage Boeing 727, N40 turned out to be an aircraft VanHoy had flown earlier in his career, running cargo in the middle of the night from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico for Eastern Airlines in the 1970s. At the FAA, the 727 was part of critical air safety work, including research into the effects of and behaviour of wake vortices and traffic and collision avoidance systems (TCAS). It has also flown around the globe demonstrating GPS navigation technology. For two years now however, N40 has been parked as in an era of high fuel prices, the grand old 727 cannot compete with the young aircraft parked next to it that weighs half as much and burns half the fuel per hour. The new kid is N47, a Bombardier Global 5000 the FAA purchased for $24.8 million in 2004. Not your typical business jet, N47 has a "the most austere interior that we could buy", says VanHoy of the Midcoast Aviation completion. Instead, the Global 5000's interior carries electronics racks in the fore cabin, including a "truth in space" GPS system that can be used with a portable ground station to post-process precisely the aircraft's location. In the aft cabin are airline-style business class seats for 10 "passengers", typically the engineers and technicians performing the experiments.
The FAA has used N47 for its airborne internet system testing and as part of the testing and approval of a required navigation procedure approach to Reagan Washington National airport. It is being used to reseach automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast tailored approaches, key elements of NextGen, as well as for reuced vertical separation minimum verification flights.
VanHoy says N47 burns as little as 1,360kg/h (3,000lb/h) at high-altitude cruise, 2,270kg/h less than the 727, corresponding to 6t less carbon dioxide every hour. And the Global will be able to fly at 51,000ft (15,550m), should the FAA decide to study high-altitude wake turbulence or other upper stratospheric phenomena. The 727 tops out at 42,000ft.
And it is not as if the Global 5000 is boring. "It flies almost like a fighter, with a great thrust-to-weight ratio and very responsive controls," says VanHoy. "Unfortunately, or possibly fortunately, it can only pull 2.5g." It only hurts a little.