Global 6500 and 5500
Global 6500 and 5500

Bombardier Global 5500 and 6500

No one knows how to recycle a fuselage design quite like Bombardier. Since 1978, the company has used its Challenger 600 series’ basic fuselage cross-section to build 1,100 of those business jets plus 1,843 CRJ regional jets and more than 750 large-cabin, long-range Global Express business jets. That part of the design, as accountants like to say, is fully amortized.

For some time, we’ve known that Bombardier intended to challenge Gulfstream in the ultra-long-range, large-cabin space with an aircraft now called the Global 7500. First announced in 2010, that $72.8 million, 7,700-nautical-mile-range uber jet should begin to be delivered later this year. And yes, it uses the same fuselage cross-section as its progenitors. What we didn’t know is how Bombardier intended to compete in the traditional large-cabin market, where Gulfstream has entered the new G500 and G600 and Dassault offers the legacy Falcon 7X and the newer 8X.

Now we do.

Global 6500 conference suite
Global 6500 conference suite

In May, Bombardier took the wraps off the new Global 5500 and 6500. The models are fresh takes on the legacy Global 5000 and 6000, and they indeed use those aircraft’s fuselage cross-sections as well. But they feature new engines, wings, interiors, and avionics, and offer reduced fuel burn and emissions as well as increased range and passenger comfort.

Bombardier Unveils New Global 6500 and 5500 Jets

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Bombardier Unveils New Global 6500 and 5500 Jets

Bombardier’s unveiling of the new Global 5500 and 6500 was quite a surprise to the crowd at EBACE in Geneva.

Slated for delivery starting in 2019, the new Globals are the launch vehicles for the Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 engine (15,125 pounds of thrust), which discharges 48 percent less smoke and 20 percent less nitrous oxide, is two decibels quieter, burns 7 percent less fuel, and has 9 percent more thrust than the BR710 engines on the old Globals. The improved performance is the product of Rolls-Royce’s Advance2 engine-technology demonstrator program. The revised engines feature a new core with new high-pressure compressor, along with an advanced engine health and usage-monitoring system (aka HUMS), a low-emissions combustor, a two-stage, shroudless high-pressure turbine, and lightweight materials that can withstand higher temperatures.

HUMS monitors thousands of engine parameters and sends information to the ground in real time, so trends and problems can be spotted long before they might come to the attention of the flight crew. As a result, parts and technicians can be positioned to get the aircraft back in the air fast, and overall maintenance costs should decline.

Global 6500 flight deck
Global 6500 flight deck

The latest Globals feature a “re-profiled” wing and other aerodynamic cleanups that Bombardier says will combine with the new engines to boost fuel efficiency by up to 13 percent compared with the legacy Globals. In addition, maximum cruise speed will increase from Mach 0.89 to Mach 0.9 and the airplanes will have longer legs than their predecessors: maximum range on the Global 5500 is 5,700 nautical miles (500 more than on the Global 5000) and 6,600 nautical miles on the Global 6500 (600 more than on the Global 6000). However, range improves even more under high/hot conditions: for a flight that takes off from Mexico’s Toluca, for example, range increases 1,300 nautical miles for both aircraft.

The performance boost is attributable to the new engines’ increased thrust, which allows the aircraft to use shorter runways and carry more fuel. The range improvements enable nonstop flights between Moscow and Los Angeles on the 5500 and Hong Kong and London on the 6500.

Global 5500
Global 5500

The new airplanes will feature Rockwell Collins’s Venue cabin-management and entertainment system, upgraded with the ability to distribute ultra-high-definition 4K content throughout the cabin, a first for business jets. Ka-band satellite connectivity enables worldwide seamless Wi-Fi coverage. The cabins can be configured to typically seat 12 to 17 and are available with many custom options, including steam ovens in the galley, newly styled cabinets and countertops, and a stand-up shower in the aft lav.

The cabins in both aircraft will feature the “Nuage” (French for cloud) seat that Bombardier developed for the larger Global 7500. It offers a variety of comfort features, including a tilting seat pan and headrest, the option of a deeper seat pan for larger passengers, a “floating base” that keeps the center of gravity over the swivel mechanism, sculpted foam, tight stitch lines, and hard-shell backs; there’s also built-in storage for personal items such as books, magazines, and tablet computers.

The conference/dining areas in both airplanes will be fitted with a related new seat design called the “Nuage Chaise,” which allows for the appropriate posture for dining/business meetings but can convert into a lounge chair for reclining. The environmental system features 100 percent fresh air, and “turbo” heating and cooling to quickly bring the cabin to a comfortable temperature. The pressurized baggage hold is accessible in flight.

Global 6500
Global 6500

Compared with the cabins of the new G500 and G600 Gulfstreams, the latest Globals are shorter in height and length but curiously have exactly the same width—just an inch short of eight feet. Both the Global 5500 and 6500 have cabin heights of six feet, two inches while the Gulfstreams offer an additional two inches. The Gulfstream G500 has a cabin length of 41 feet, nine inches, while the Global 5500 offers a foot less; the Gulfstream G600 has a cabin length of 45 feet, two inches, while the Global 6500 has 43 feet, three inches.

In the cockpit, the new Globals feature the Rockwell Collins combined vision system, which merges infrared enhanced vision and synthetic vision system imagery into a single conformal view—a fancy way of saying you can take off and land in just about any visibility. Other safety capabilities of the avionics system include advanced weather radar that can predict deadly wind shear, airport moving maps, real-time traffic, and an improved terrain database.

Initially at least, the new Globals will sell for $4 million and $6 million less, respectively, than their legacy siblings, the $50.4 million Global 5000 and $62.3 million 6000 models which, for now, Bombardier plans to keep producing.

Rockwell Collins cabin management system
Rockwell Collins cabin management system

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