It’s a go for the Global 5000…

 - March 20, 2008, 7:50 AM

When the going gets tough, the tough launch airplane programs. Banking on better times beyond the currently cloudy economy, and despite depressed business-airplane shipments by the Canadian airframer last year, Bombardier has formally launched the Global 5000 after first introducing the program last October.

Essentially a Global Express shorter on both range and cabin length, the Global 5000 is Bombardier’s offering in what it describes as the “super-large” business jet market. With a cabin 8 ft 2 in. wide and 43 ft 4 in. long from the cockpit divider to the aft pressure bulkhead (five feet shorter than that of the Global Express), the Global 5000 competes with the Gulfstream IV-SP and Falcon 900EX. Bombardier claims the Global 5000 cabin offers 12 percent more volume than that of its closest competitor. The length of the cabin seating area is 26 ft 6 in., divided into three 106-in. zones.

The new airplane, costing $32.95 million typically completed, will not offer the Global Express’ ultra-long range (6,010 nm), but it will still vault a respectable 4,800 nm with eight passengers and three crew at Mach 0.85/488 kt (with NBAA IFR reserves)–good for nonstop flight from continental Europe to central North America. At Mach 0.88/505 kt, the range will fall to 3,700 nm.

The 4,800-nm range links the following city pairs: Chicago to Athens, Paris to Chicago, New York to Cairo and London to Dallas. U.S. coast-to-coast nonstop will be possible at Mach 0.89/510 kt.

Field performance will be strong, thanks to the combined 29,500 lb of takeoff thrust (ISA+20) from the pair of Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR710A2-20 turbofans and the slatted wing of the heavier Global Express. Takeoff distance (at 87,700-lb mtow, ISA, SL) will be 5,000 ft, and landing distance (at 78,600-lb mlw, ISA, SL) will be just 2,700 ft.

Unlike the Global Express, the Global 5000 will not have a fuel tank in the aft fuselage, carrying all its fuel in the wings, for a total capacity of 36,000 lb vs the Global Express’ 43,350 lb.

Niches become ever smaller as business aviation matures, and Bombardier sees the structure of the top end thus: “large aircraft” are the Challenger 604 and Falcon 50EX, 2000 and 2000EX; “super-large aircraft” are the Global 5000, GIV-SP and Falcon 900C, 900EX and 7X; and “ultra-large aircraft” are the Global Express and GV. Dassault is a strong player in this heavy-metal segment, with six offerings vs Gulfstream’s two and (until the advent of the Global 5000) Bombardier’s two. By adding the Global 5000 to the fray and filling a gap between the Challenger 604 and Global Express, Bombardier hopes to build 42 percent of the 2,000-plus aircraft that it forecasts will be sold in this segment between last fall and 2010.

Since introducing the Global 5000 last October, Bombardier has booked letters of intent for 15 aircraft. First flight is slated for the first quarter of next year, with Transport Canada/FAA/JAA certification following a year later. The first customer airplane is scheduled to enter corporate service in late 2004.