Bombardier’s Global XRS rangier, better performer

 - November 2, 2007, 6:35 AM

At last month’s NBAA Convention Bombardier launched the Global Express XRS as the next generation of its super-large, long-range business jet offerings. The derivative model brings upgrades to the Global cabin and provides greater range at high speed, improved takeoff performance, fast fueling capability and the new Bombardier enhanced vision system (BEVS) as standard equipment.

Following first green deliveries in next year’s fourth quarter, the XRS will enter service in the first quarter of 2006. It will replace the existing Global Express, for which the next available delivery slot is spring 2005.

The Global XRS will provide improved pressurization with a 4,500- foot cabin altitude at FL450 and a 5,700-foot cabin altitude at FL510. This is a 25-percent improvement on the existing Global cabin, and Bombardier claims that it will be the lowest available cabin altitude in any business aircraft. It is also providing an upgraded humidification system as an optional item.

Also new in the XRS cabin are two more windows–taking the total on the aircraft to 27. The viewing area of the windows is also enlarged to bring extra ambient light into the cabin, especially in the vestibule area of the forward cabin. Interior light is being further improved by the use of a more versatile and reliable LED system.

The crew rest area will be moved to the right side of the aircraft, with the galley on the left to provide a more open feel to the front end of the cabin. The crew rest provision will comply with charter regulations for flights of up to 12 hours–two hours more than the current allowable maximum.

In the middle section of the XRS cabin a new workstation with high-speed data connections is being created opposite the conference- configured seating. The new model will also feature up to 15 cubic feet of additional baggage space.

With the addition of a new forward fuel tank in the wing/body fairing, the XRS will be able to carry up to 1,486 pounds more usable fuel, allowing it to fly 6,500 nm at Mach 0.82, 6,150 nm at Mach 0.85 or 5,450 nm at Mach 0.87. Marc Bouliane, Bombardier’s product planning manager for the Global family, told AIN that the Mach 0.85- and 0.87-range performance will come with a written guarantee. He also pointed out that when the Global Express was launched a decade ago in 1993, it promised Mach 0.80 range of 6,500 nm with a margin of plus or minus 5 percent. It will now offer the same max range at Mach 0.82 with the margin reduced to 3 percent. The new aircraft will also come with a 7,800-pound completion allowance–significantly more generous than the 6,000-pound limit set at the program launch date.

The XRS will be able to make zero-flap takeoffs from hot and high airports, carrying more fuel for longer-range missions. For example, out of Toluca, Mexico, in ISA+5 degree F conditions, it will be able to take off with 1,900 pounds of additional fuel, providing for an extra 235 nm of range.

The BEVS package will reduce the risk of both controlled flight into terrain and runway incursions, as well as generally increasing pilots’ depth perception in difficult operating conditions. It was unveiled at last year’s NBAA show in Orlando and, apart from being standard on the Global XRS, will be available as an option for the existing Global Express beginning in spring 2005.

In a typical configuration, a completed XRS costs $45.5 million, versus $43.3 million for a typically completed original Global Express. Bouliane said that some of the later production Globals might now be fitted with the XRS’s performance enhancements. He claimed that the XRS will widen the gap between the Global and its Gulfstream 550 rival in terms of cabin comfort, technology and performance.

Also at the NBAA Convention this year, the Global 5000 made its U.S. debut, having zoomed in from Wichita at Mach 0.89 on October 5, making a 170-knot fly-by for early visitors to the Orlando Executive Airport before touching down on a mere 3,500 feet of Florida runway real estate. The second test aircraft is due to fly next month, as the program heads for on-time service entry before the end of the first quarter next year.

The new model will offer 4,800 nm range (continental Europe to central North America) at Mach 0.85.