Nearly a year after Bombardier brought its flagship Global 7500 to market, the Montreal-based manufacturer (Booth C7508, Static SD701) has been ramping up production and continuing to lift the curtain on new high-end cabin features designed for ultra-long-range flight, the latest of which is its immersive high-fidelity audio system dubbed l’Opera.
To be showcased next week at Bombardier’s static display at Henderson Executive Airport during NBAA-BACE, l’Opera is an advanced audio system with full-range speakers, the latest in digital signal processing, and “seat-centric” sound technology that is able to follow the passenger in the cabin.
Developed in concert with Lufthansa Technik, which provides the nice Touch cabin management system for the Global 7500, l’Opera was inspired by advances both in home theater technologies and in automotive sound systems, said Tim Fagan, manager of industrial design for Bombardier.
L’Opera incorporates a series of mid-range and high-range speakers, including a rotational center speaker in the entertainment desk suite. Each living space has its own combination of speakers strategically directed to provide a sound mixture maximized at the passenger’s listening level. These are accompanied by subwoofers integrated into bulkhead walls and divans to provide a balanced surround-sound experience. The system can produce 1,275 watts of power.
Driving this is digital signal processing with Class D amplifiers. The processing has built-in algorithms that adjust to sounds—from the sound of a whisper to an explosion sound in a movie—eliminating the need to adjust the volume, Fagan said, adding that that “intelligent” approach was implemented throughout the system. The digital processing system is designed to provide as clear a sound as possible.
As for the seat-centric approach, the system is designed to provide “a rich audio field exactly at the level of the user,” Fagan said, but at the same time can be personalized to the individual’s audio “sweet spot” that is adjusted through tablets. Passengers can opt for that sweet spot wherever they sit—or recline—throughout the cabin.
The sound system is the latest of cabin amenities that Bombardier has slowly been detailing over the past 18 months. This past spring, Bombardier unveiled its Soleil (French for "sun") circadian rhythm-based cabin lighting technology in the Global 7500. It uses specific combinations of red and blue light wavelengths believed to stimulate or suppress melatonin. Soleil can automatically adjust cabin lights to align passengers’ circadian rhythms. A year earlier Bombardier took the wraps off its Nuage ("cloud") seat technology.
Deliveries Ramp Up
Such cabin comforts are important, given the aircraft’s 7,700-nm range, which for now is the longest of all in-service business jets. Bombardier delivered the first Global 7500 this past December with much fanfare during a ceremony in Montreal. Jetcraft and Stonebriar Commercial Finance purchased that first aircraft, which was leased back to Bombardier for a worldwide demonstration tour.
Through mid-year, Bombardier had delivered three more, but as production ramps up company executives say the company remains on track to deliver between 15 and 20 this year. Stephane Loubert, v-p of programs for Global 7500/8000, said activity on the program is “frenetic right now—a lot of energy.”
The in-service fleet had crossed over the 1,000-hour threshold by the time summer concluded and achieved 366 landings in that time. Loubert added those initial aircraft are being used as intended. Noting long-range aircraft are typically flown on two-hour missions, Loubert said with the 7500, “you see…much-longer-range deployments, longer time in deployment” and added that the aircraft “have gone, many times, around the world.”
Bombardier has checked off some key to-do-list items such as steep-approach approvals. And this past summer, the Global 7500 became the largest purpose-built business jet to operate into and out of Gstaad’s Saanen Airport in the Swiss Alps, which has an elevation of 3,307 feet, is surrounded by multiple challenging obstacles, and has a relatively short 4,593-ft runway.
Along the way, the 7500 has picked up several speed records including from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours 54 minutes, including more than two hours at Mach 0.925, and from New York to London in 5 hours 26 minutes.