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Bombardier raises the bar

Tim Schwarz takes a luxury tour of the super-plush interior of the Global 5000

Bombardier believes it's taken cabin interior design to new heights. On the eve of Farn-borough it unveiled the interior of the Global 5000, its new super-large business jet, and the company is hoping to lure high-flying customers with the spacious design and office-like capabilities.

The Global 5000 is a derivative of the Global Express and while there have been various changes, such as shortening the fuselage, one of the major differences is the new cabin design.

Development work on the interior began two years before it was actually installed in an aircraft, says Marc Bouliane, manager of product planning, Bombardier Global family.

A test aircraft on static display at the Business Aircraft Park is fitted with an interior representative of the production configuration.

Service entry

A Global 5000 with a complete interior was successfully flown on 8 June. The aircraft is due to for service entry in the fourth quarter of this year. When it enters the market it will compete with Dassault's Falcon 900EX and the Gulfstream G450.

Bombardier claims the Global 5000 has the widest cross-section and longest seating area in its class. The cabin length measures 12.95m (42ft) from the start of the forward lavatory to the end of the pressurised compartment and the cabin width (centerline) is 2.49m. Tall passengers shouldn't have a problem getting around the cabin, thanks to the 1.91m cabin height. Bombardier says the cabin of the Gulfstream G450 could fit in the Global 5000's cabin.

A basic floor plan configuration is available, with more than 300 different configurations possible. Depending on configuration, the aircraft is capable of carrying between eight and 19 passengers with two or three crew members. The standard interior has three temperature zones along with a forward and aft lavatory. When the forward lavatory is occupied the aisle remains clear.

The Global 5000's galley has room to prepare two five-course meals for eight passengers and there is also an optional private "state room" aft.

Bombardier says it has learned from previous programmes and has a well-defined configuration along with a well-explained customisation package.

Aiming to counter criticisms across the business aircraft industry that systems are often unreliable, Bouliane says Bombardier has applied the same rigorous testing to such things as the waste and water systems that it does to the electronic and hydraulic systems. The water system alone was put through 15,000 cycles to ensure its reliability.

Bouliane says the company applied a similar testing procedure with the Challenger 300 but has this time taken the testing to an even higher level. Following Farnborough, the aircraft will enter an interior certification and reliability program.

The interior furnishings were supplied by Huntington Beach, California-based C&D Aerospace.

A new seat, exclusive to the Global 5000, has been designed to ensure optimum comfort. It features a contoured back rest and armrests and converts to a full berth.

Bouliane says as far as he is aware Bombardier is the first business aircraft company to use Visco Elastic material on its seats. This material reacts to the body shape and adapts better to contours. It also helps distribute weight over a larger surface area, hence making it more comfortable.

Also, in response to customer feedback, the seat features a new integral headset for enhanced comfort.

New tables have also been developed to offer greater sturdiness and improved work space. The top of the table is aligned with the side ledge, providing greater surface area. Deflection on both the bi-fold tables and conference grouping tables has been reduced to less than 0.5in (13mm) with a 50lb (23kg) load at the tip.

Leg room

The conference table features a single, centred leg design offering more leg room. And the conference table's four drink holders mean refreshment is never far away.

The window reveal has been enlarged so it is considerably bigger than the window pane. This gives a line of sight and ambient light improvement of 15-40%, depending on a passenger's location in the cabin.

As an optional feature customers can elect to have a cabin window installed in the forward lavatory, again making the most of ambient light.

As with numerous other Bombardier aircraft, Goodrich Hella provides the lighting system. LED (light-emitting diode) lights are used throughout to illuminate the well-appointed cabin. Bouliane says LED lights provide better reliability and an increased lifetime. The lights can be controlled from the galley touch screen and from the VIP seats. If the mood strikes, red, green and blue lighting is an optional extra.

And the VIP doesn't have to worry about giving up control if he or she moves seats. The two VIP seats are assignable, rather than being statically configured, and can be moved to follow the restless passenger.

The cabin electronic system (CES) is a version of the Rockwell Collins Airshow 21. It is Ethernet-based and makes the Global 5000 an office in the air. It is designed so that a passenger can simply plug in their laptop computer and do all the things they would be able to do in an office, such as print, e-mail and transfer files. It is possible to access the Internet, but at slower speeds than the typical office connection.

The aircraft also has a firewall, which protects the cabin network from ground-based attacks. The system currently installed is version 2.1.1 and Bombardier is working towards version 3, which will be fully functional.

Maintenance and troubleshooting also becomes easier as any system problems are reported through the CES. If a problem with the waste management system is detected, for example, it will be sent to the central system, removing the need to go to each system individually.

Error messages are recorded in plain English on the galley touch screen. They can also be displayed on the optional VIP touch screen or on configured laptops.

Handsets

The baseline communication package comes with two Aero H+ channels for use with Inmarsat, one Aero H+ channel for cockpit data and one channel for use with Iridium. All handsets can transfer between the Inmarsat and Iridium networks, so separate handsets for each are not required.

There is also one channel for high speed data (HSD) transfer, with rates of up to 64 kilobits per second. Bombardier says the Global 5000 is the only aircraft to offer HSD and Iridium as standard equipment.

Naturally, for the high-flying executives who want to take a break from their office in the sky, the Global 5000 features the full array of audio, video and DVD entertainment options.

Going to the office just took on a whole new meaning.

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