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Global Express takes to the air

Graham Warwick/ATLANTA

BOMBARDIER's Global Express long-range business jet was flown for the first time on 13 October, reaching an altitude of 11,000ft (3,350m) and a speed of 210kt (390km/h) during the 2h 46min maiden flight from the Canadian company's de Havilland factory at Downsview, near Toronto.

Some 25-50h of shake down and familiarisation flying will be accumulated before the Global Express is moved to Bombardier's flight-test centre in Wichita, Kansas. The 18-month, 2,000h, certification flight-test programme will involve four aircraft - the remaining three are now in final assembly at Downsview.

Bombardier rolled out the Global Express on 26 August and had hoped to fly the aircraft during September, but says that "-normal snags for an all-new aircraft" delayed the first flight.

The Global Express is powered by 65kN (14,690lb)-thrust BMW Rolls-Royce BR710s and has a design range of 12,000km (6,500nm) at Mach 0.8. Maximum cruise speed is Mach 0.88.

Bombardier Aerospace vice-president for flight test, Pete Reynolds, piloted the aircraft on its "uneventful" first flight, and reports that the Global Express "-behaved extremely well". The aircraft met or exceeded expectations, the company says, adding that the systems "-functioned very well".

The first Global Express, aircraft 9001, will be used for performance testing, including envelope- expansion, stall and flutter tests. Aircraft 9002 will be used for systems testing; 9003 for avionics testing; and 9004, the first production-standard Global Express with cabin interior, for function and reliability testing.

Simultaneous Canadian, European and US certification, is scheduled for May 1998. The BR710 engine, for use on the Global Express, is due to be certificated in February 1997.

Bombardier plans to begin deliveries to completion centres in the fourth quarter of 1997, enabling the Global Express to enter service immediately after certification - and less than 18 months after the rival Gulfstream V, which was first flown in October 1995.

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