Global 5000 take off
Global 5000 take off

Bombardier Global 5000

Question: When is a lower-cost derivative aircraft better than the original? Answer: When it’s the Global 5000, which Bombardier began delivering in 2005.

Both the range and passenger section of the large-cabin Bombardier Global 5000 are slightly shorter than what its Global XRS big brother offers, but lower acquisition and operating costs and champion short-runway performance more than compensate for these deficits.

A 10-year-old 5000 in good condition can fetch up to $14 million (retail), according to the aircraft pricing service Vref. That’s $4 million less than you might pay for a similar vintage XRS, whose cabin is a mere 2.5 feet longer. The main differences reveal themselves in runway requirements, range, and payload capabilities.

True, the XRS with a full bag of gas can fly 6,471 nautical miles nonstop, but to do so, it needs 6,476 feet of takeoff runway and is limited to a payload of 5,770 pounds. Conversely, a fully fueled 5000 can fly 5,200 nautical miles, taking off from a 5,540-foot runway and carrying 7,139 pounds of payload. For shorter flights, it needs considerably less pavement: on a 1,000-nautical-mile flight, the 5000 requires a takeoff distance of just 2,743 feet; and on a 3,000-nautical-mile trip, it needs just 3,800 feet (sea level, standard temperature). It’s this kind of versatility that makes the 5000 an attractive choice for those who don’t regularly require the range of an XRS.

Global 5000
Global 5000

While the 5000 compares well with bigger, long-range, large-cabin offerings like the XRS, it fares even better when measured against competing aircraft in its peer group, such as the Gulfstream G450 and the Dassault Falcon 900EX. The 5000’s cabin is roomier than that of either of those 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 approximately nine-foot-long zones with enclosed forward and rear lavatories, a large galley that can support two in-flight meals, and an optional rear stateroom.

While many cabin layouts were offered for this jet, the most commonly employed one features a forward crew closet and lav followed by the galley; then a forward club-four area of single executive seats and a four-seat conference grouping with table opposite a credenza; and an aft stateroom with either two facing three-place 80-inch divans or a divan and two single seats. The cabin is extremely quiet, with a sound level at cruise flight measured at 52 decibels.

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With a wing reconfiguration and new Rolls-Royce engines, the Global 5500 and 6500 will fly faster and farther than the Global 5000 and 6000.

Thoughtful details further enhance passenger comfort. The single executive passenger seats feature integral headrests, contoured backrests, fully flat berthing and compound curve arms that support natural arm placement regardless of recline angle. The contoured seat 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. The seats were available with the customer’s choice of either the industry standard Dax foam or viscoelastic memory foam, which is similar to the material in high-end mattresses. A full-function powered seat is optional.

The bifold 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.

Global 5000 on tarmac
Global 5000 on tarmac

The small, low-mounted cabin windows have long been an esoteric sore point for Global Express owners. While the 5000 uses these same windows, its interior window surround increases the direct line of sight up to 40 percent. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) illuminate 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 Global 5000 originally came with the Rockwell Collins Airshow 21 cabin entertainment and information system, which offers digital Ethernet and on-demand audiovisual distribution to laptops, high-speed data capability, onboard firewall and dedicated channels for Inmarsat and Iridium satellite communications. More modern Ka-band systems can be retrofitted onto the aircraft and Bombardier and third-party providers began doing that earlier this year. The installation takes about 18 days if done concurrently with a major aircraft inspection and systems are priced between $600,000 and $700,000.

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.

Global 5000 cabin
Global 5000 cabin

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 uses 16 gallons of fluid and requires servicing only every 128 flushes.

A generously sized baggage compartment is accessible in flight through the rear lavatory. The galley is designed for two five-course meal services (eight passengers each). It features microwave and high-temperature convection ovens and a chiller.

Given its 5,200-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, Brazil, or from Tokyo to Sydney, Australia—and, thanks to its Mach 0.85 cruise speed, it can do this an hour faster than either the Falcon or the Gulfstream. (Global 5000s produced before 2007 had a range of 4,800 nautical miles; after that, Bombardier offered extra fuel capacity—and thus extra range—as a $1 million add-on option that has now been incorporated into most of the fleet.) The swift speed comes courtesy of highly swept wings mated to a pair of Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR710A2-20 engines (14,750 pounds of thrust each).

Global 5000 cockpit
Global 5000 cockpit

The 5000 has a ceiling of 51,000 feet, enabling it to 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 capable but dated avionics that include the Honeywell Primus 2000XP system and the Thales heads up display. And while no airplane 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 instructions on how to install them. Available cockpit updates include new, brighter LCD displays. A full avionics upgrade to the Primus system will run around $650,000 if performed during a major maintenance inspection.

Bombardier supports the aircraft via per-hour programs including Smart Services, with an estimated 60 percent of the Global fleet currently enrolled. The program covers replacement costs of major components and select rotables in exchange for a per-hour flight fee.

The Global 5000’s attributes add up to a lot of short-field utility and large-cabin comfort for buyers who don’t require 6,000-nautical-mile-plus range. If a 10-hour airplane is all you really need, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than this.       

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