“When you get into the larger aircraft it becomes like a hotel, with dozens of staff supporting the plane based in a galley area down below. You have very comprehensive cooking facilities, and on larger aircraft we have looked at theatres, with spiral staircases and a Steinway grand piano. The limitations for what you can put inside a plane are pretty much the limits of physics, and even money cannot always overcome that. Even so, people are still always trying to push [the limits]. ”
Bombardier Global 5000
Bombardier aimed its Global 5000 directly at the Gulfstream 450 and Falcon 900EX market. From a cabin-comfort point of view, it is right on target.
The $36.75 million aircraft, which Bombardier conceived in 1999 and began delivering to customers in 2005, is a slightly shorter version of its long-range Global Express XRS. The Global 5000's cabin is bigger than that of either of the aforementioned competitors, with the widest cross section (just over eight feet at centerline), longest seating area (about 27 feet) and most headroom (six feet, three inches) in its class. The cabin is divided into three 109-inch-long zones with enclosed forward and rear lavatories, a large galley that can support two in-flight meals and an optional rear stateroom. A generously sized baggage compartment is accessible in flight through the rear lavatory.
Long Range, High Speed
With its 4,800-nautical-mile range, the 5000 can reach the central U.S. from anywhere in Europe. It can also fly unrefueled from New York to São Paulo or from Tokyo to Sidney-and, thanks to its Mach 0.85 cruise speed, it can do this an hour faster than either the Falcon or the Gulfstream. (For many people, the ultimate measure of an aircraft's comfort remains how fast they can get out of it.) The swift speed comes courtesy of a pair of Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR710A2-20 engines (14,750 pounds of thrust each), from the same family of beefy blowers that power some airliners and business jets, including the Boeing 717 and the Gulfstream 550.
At maximum takeoff weight, the aircraft needs 5,000 feet of runway; however, that number shrinks considerably on shorter missions. For example, on a 1,000-nautical-mile flight, the jet requires a takeoff distance of just 2,743 feet (sea level, standard temperature).
With a ceiling of 51,000 feet, the 5000 can cruise above almost all of the worst weather. The airplane will also likely be able to reach its destination in any but the foulest of conditions, thanks to sophisticated avionics that include the Honeywell Primus 2000XP system and the Thales Heads Up flight guidance system. And while no aircraft is immune from downtime due to mechanical or electrical faults, the Global 5000 has innovative systems that will minimize the impact, including a central aircraft information and maintenance system (CAIMS). This system provides real-time data and can even automatically order replacement parts and provide maintenance personnel with instructions on how to install them.
The substantial 16g single passenger seats feature integral headrests, contoured backrests, fully flat berthing and compound curve arms that support natural arm placement regardless of seat recline angle. Flex-wing headrests are an option. The contoured backs provide two to three inches of additional legroom. Storage, life vests and video screens are accessible through forward-facing hinged doors on the front of the armrests.
Seats are available with the customer's choice of either the industry standard Dax foam or visco-elastic memory foam, which is similar to the material in Tempur-Pedic mattresses. Bombardier's testing showed substantially less seat squirming with the visco-elastic than with conventional foams. However, seats with visco-elastic weigh 10 pounds more than those with Dax. A full-function powered seat will be available as an option.
The equally innovative bi-fold sidewall cabin tables fold out flush with the top of the side ledge, to provide more usable and comfortable surfaces. They extend from the dado panel rather than from the side ledge and incorporate an easy-to-use pull-out-and-retract mechanism.
The hi-lo conference table features a single-pedestal design that greatly increases legroom. Again, it deploys with its top flush with the top of the side ledge. The four integral cup holders are available regardless of how many table panels are unfolded. An electrically deployed conference table is available.
Although aircraft design is admittedly an evolutionary science, the 5000's smartly crafted seats and tables beg the question: Why hasn't anyone done this before?
Then there are the windows. An esoteric sore point for Global Express owners has been the small windows inherited from Bombardier's regional jet. The 5000 uses these same windows but has a new window that increases the direct line of sight up to 40 percent. Unless you are under age 10, however, you still have to crane your neck down to see anything.
Light-emitting diodes supply the artificial lighting throughout the cabin. The standard installation features white, amber and red for wash lights while red, green and blue mood lighting is an available option. You can control lighting for the entire cabin from a galley touchscreen or from controls at the VIP passenger seat. Reading-light controls are at each seat.
The aircraft's 24.7-gallon potable water equipment is lighter than the system on the Global Express and is designed for single-point servicing, which takes only 10 minutes. Water recirculates in a closed loop once a minute (without use) throughout the system, which features a UV sterilizer and electronic monitoring for status and fault reporting.
The Global 5000's forward and aft lavatories enable a private rear "stateroom" design with one or two berthing divans. Forward holding-tank lavs in business jets have traditionally spawned in-flight olfactory problems. However, the 5000 comes with a vacuum lav system that minimizes this concern and that can be monitored electronically for maintenance needs. The system requires servicing only every 128 flushes and uses 16 gallons of fluid. Bombardier claims it is sized for two 10-hour missions, each with 15 passengers.
The galley is designed for two five-course meal services (eight passengers each). It features microwave and high-temperature convection ovens and a chiller.
The Global 5000 cabin incorporates the upgradeable Rockwell Collins Airshow 21 system with all the latest bells and whistles, including digital Ethernet and on-demand audiovisual distribution to laptops, high-speed data capability, onboard firewall and dedicated channels for Inmarsat and Iridium satellite communications.
The aircraft features one basic cabin configuration with 300 possible permutations. For example, lavatories can be enlarged, and a three-place (9g) or two-place (16g) divan or a credenza can be substituted for the conference grouping.
All-in-all the Global 5000's cabin is comfortable, flexible and innovative. The airplane poses serious competition to Dassault and Gulfstream.