We Fly the Bombardier Global 6000
When I saw the it on the ramp at Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Connecticut, my first impression of the Bombardier Global 6000, the company’s latest ultra-long-range wonder, was simply that it is a staggeringly beautiful airplane. The one I was looking at, and which I’d shortly get to fly, was the very picture of elegance, stark white with gold, like a great model made of porcelain but built to fly at velocities approaching the speed of sound — a wonder.
But the Global 6000 is a machine nonetheless, and a remarkably capable one at that. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the economic downturn of the past several years, it’s that the market for ultra-long-range business jets is doing fine. Just look at the success of the Gulfstream G650, the Falcon 7X and the Bombardier Global 6000, all of which have seen steady business at a time when segments for other, smaller bizjets are suffering. If there is a lesson here, it’s that if we need one word to describe what buyers are seeking in a global jet, that word is “range.”
This makes shopping for one of Bombardier’s cutting-edge ultra-long-range bizjets easy: The range of the machine is part of its name. The Global 6000, for example, has an IFR range of 6,000 nm, which is enough to, well, take you to some spectacular places. (The company dropped the “Express” part of the Global Express name; new airplanes are simply “Global” and a number that approximates the range in nautical miles.)
When Bombardier launched the Global Express back in 1993, it was a revolutionary move to create an airplane that would extend the range of the purpose-built bizjet in an attempt to keep pace with its rival Gulfstream. Over the next couple of decades, the companies have played leapfrog, with innovative airplanes that enjoyed remarkable sales success while pushing the state of the art ever higher.
The innovations have included new avionics capabilities, integrating large flat-panel display systems and a variety of cutting-edge safety systems, including head-up displays, enhanced-vision system, airborne datalink, advanced systems monitoring and increasingly capable and smart autoflight systems, all things flight department chiefs (and pilots in general) look to when evaluating new designs. Such innovation, according to Honeywell’s annual state of the turbine industry report, is a major factor in driving buying decisions.
By some measures, an even more critical factor is simply the range of the airplane. Additional range means additional utility. With longer legs, the airplane can obviously travel farther, but in terms of ultra-long-range logic, it more importantly means it can link important city pairs. With the world’s financial centers separated by vast distances, the ability to link, say, London and Mumbai is a major selling point. Because the very largest and most comfortable bizjets can do this while giving their passengers all the comforts of home, the commodity being sold is the ability to shrink the globe and make time stand still. A 14-hour flight, if it involves a few hours of productive work connected to digital networks, a fine meal, a restful night’s sleep and a quick shower en route before a change of clothes and a delightful breakfast, isn’t an ordeal; it’s just part of the day. This is what ultra-long-range jets promise — and deliver.