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Global Express Canadian approval approaches

Graham Warwick/Wichita

Bombardier is aiming for Canadian certification of the Global Express long-range business jet by the end of this month, although some flight testing will remain to be completed. US and European certification are expected to follow in July or August.

Certification for flight into known icing will be obtained later in the year, after natural icing tests to be conducted in Chile, but before the December delivery of the first completed aircraft to a customer. Some autopilot modes will be approved in September, says Pete Reynolds, vice-president of Bombardier's flight test centre in Wichita, Kansas.

Transport Canada has allowed the Canadian company to complete function and reliability (F&R) testing, usually the last step before certification, after award of the type certificate. The four-week F&R will involve 150h of flying on representative corporate missions with the fourth test aircraft. This will also function as a sales tour.

The Global Express will be certificated with a range of just over 12,000km (6,500nm), meeting the performance guarantees, but falling short of the 12,400km range promised by Bombardier. The shortfall is because the BMW Rolls-Royce BR710 engines are together about 140-180kg overweight, says John Holding, executive vice president for engineering and product development.

BMW R-R has a phased plan to reduce the weight of the engine and improve its specific fuel consumption (SFC), and later aircraft will achieve the 12,400km range, says Holding. About 90kg in weight reductions will be retrofittable into earlier aircraft to increase range. The SFC improvements will not be retrofittable.

Bombardier, which has firm orders for 80 Global Expresses, plans to deliver 16-20 "green" aircraft to completion centres by the end of its financial year on 31 January, 1999. The first three customer aircraft are already undergoing outfitting in the company's Montreal completion centre.

European certification of the Learjet 45 business jet is expected by mid-July. US certification was received last September, but deliveries did not begin until May, following approval for flight into known icing. Only one aircraft has been handed over so far, but Bombardier expects to deliver 35-40 this financial year, with production set to reach 60 next year.

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