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Big Machs galore at NBAA 2014

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Big Machs galore at NBAA 2014

Oh my God! So much news to use from the show so far…and it hasn’t even started yet. As usual Orlando is abuzz with the latest and greatest business aviation has to offer at the biggest show of the corporate aviation calendar.

Video comes courtesy of the organisers, the US National Business Aviation Association – an organisation well worth joining for those of us involved in the industry. The show kicked off well with the Honeywell annual forecast, which bodes well for the next ten years. Huzzah!

Highlights of the survey include:

  •  Up to 9,450 deliveries of new business jets valued at $280
  • Operators plan to replace 23 percent of their fleets with new jets in the next five years
  • European and Brazilian purchase plan percentages lead all world regions
  • Large-cabin jets account for up to 46 percent of five-year new purchase plans

For the full results, click here – but the news is all good.

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 The big show news today of course was Gulfstream’s new aircraft family, which played to a packed house – standing room only in the Savannah airframer’s presser today. The OEM launched its all new G500 and G600 types last week. The two new clean sheet aircraft are faster, bigger and more fuel efficient. During the launch event, the first G500 taxied up under its own power, which president Larry Flynn claimed, “You couldn’t even hear, it was so quiet.” There are customers already – Qatar Airways has taken up to 20 of the type. General Dynamics chairman and CEO Phoebe Novakovic also revealed a nearly 70-foot/21-meter mock-up of the G600 at the announcement in Savannah last Tuesday.

The G500 can fly 5,000 nautical miles/9,260 kilometres at Mach 0.85 or 3,800 nm/7,038 km at Mach 0.90. The G600 is capable of traveling 6,200 nm/11,482 km at Mach 0.85 or 4,800 nm/8,890 km at Mach 0.90. The maximum operating speed for both aircraft is Mach 0.925, the same speed as Gulfstream’s G650 and G650ER. Scott Neal,svp worldwide sales and marketing said today that no new bizjet should fly at less than Mach 0.8. That’s some notching up the speed scale since the first variants hit the sky around 50 years ago…

According to Larry Flynn, Gulfstream’s president, customers played a large part in the development of the two new types. Like all the latest additions to OEM families, both aircraft feature wide cross-sections. The finished cabin of each aircraft, which measure 91 inches/213 centimetres wide and 74 in/188 cm tall, also offers considerable head and shoulder room for passengers. In the unlikely event of a business jet travelling full, (two to three is the normal load) each can carry up to 19 passengers.

First flight of G500 is scheduled for 2015. Gulfstream reckons it will receive type certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency in 2017 and begin deliveries in 2018. The G600 flight-test programme is expected to begin approximately 12 to 18 months after the G500’s, and entry-into-service is projected to be in 2019.

The G500 has three living areas, while the G600 has up to four, as well as an optional crew rest. Both aircraft have forward and aft lavatories and include a full-size galley that can be located in either the forward or aft portion of the aircraft. There is also plenty of room in the trunk with 175 cubic ft/5.0 cu m of usable volume in the baggage compartment.

You can go high, too with an altitude of 4,850 ft/1,578 m at FL510 and 100 percent fresh air that makes all the difference to reducing hypoxia, boosting mental alertness and productivity while reducing fatigue. Large oval windows, the same size as those on the G650, allow natural light to pour into the cabins.

Gulfstream also announced that Dallas-based fractional ownership provider Flexjet has taken up to 50 Gulfstream types including G450, G500 and G650.

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 Bombardier Challenger 650 is born

 Montreal based rival Bombardier, meanwhile, launched a new type of its own on the static park last night. The OEM introduced the Challenger 650, alongside an announcement that launch customer NetJets has taken 25 of the type, with options for 50 additional aircraft.

The Signature Series brand of the Challenger 650 includes customised cabinetry, seating, next-generation inflight entertainment (IFE) and lighting. Deliveries of the aircraft are scheduled to start in 2015. The aircraft’s enhanced GE engines offer greater thrust, shorter take-off distance, extra payload capacity and greater range capabilities out of challenging airports. With a true 4,000 nm (7,408 km) range capability, the Challenger 650 jet will connect London to New York, Dubai to London and Sao Paulo to Miami non-stop.

The wide cabin has been completely redesigned to offer the ultimate in-flight experience, with breakthrough design attributes and unique expressions of comfort, control and connectivity. Inspired by the design and ergonomics of the new Challenger 350 aircraft, the Challenger 650 will feature redesigned seats and galley, business aviation’s an ultra modern Cabin Management System, huge HD monitors, Audio Video on Demand, Bluetooth integration and connectivity.

The jet will also feature the Bombardier Vision flight deck, providing pilots with cutting edge technology and superior design aesthetics for new levels of control and comfort, in addition to increasing situational awareness and reducing pilot workload.

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Falcon flying high

Dassault Falcon is getting on with its new types, too, which are both slated to fly next year. The Falcon 5X and 8X programmes are well underway

The French airframer has also opened two new state-of-the-art interior design and showroom centres intended to facilitate the selection of interior design solutions and options for Falcon customers.

Located at Paris-Le Bourget and Teterboro Airport, two of the busiest executive aviation airports in Europe and the US, the multimillion dollar facilities provide an innovative and pleasant interactive environment that allows customers to specify their aircraft interiors and pick and choose from available onboard equipment hardware and materials in the easiest and most efficient manner possible.

Specification areas are equipped with high-definition screens and advanced 3D tools that interface directly with Dassault’s digital modelling software, greatly simplifying the cabin design process. Showrooms feature a stylish and elegant decor that permits seats, in-flight entertainment equipment, galley appliances, lighting, panelling and other interior features to be displayed in an environment reminiscent of a typical Falcon cabin. Design of the facilities drew heavily on ideas and suggestions from Falcon operators

Eric Trappier, CEO explained: “The interior spec and design process has evolved greatly over the past several years with the wide use of digital tools, 3D processes like Dassault Systemes CATIA and a greatly expanded selection of options and new products.”

In addition to onboard equipment, the two facilities showcase a wide range of Falcon interiors including full scale or partial mock-ups of the Falcon 7X, 900LX and 2000 family aircraft and the new Falcon 5X very extra wide body twinjet.

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 Well I’m off now to sample the delights of Orlando. Can’t be worse than last night. My satnav blew a gasket in the hire car (courtesy of said car’s cigarette lighter attachment blowing a fuse). This happened simultaneously with my phone battery expiring. Fortunately I took a wrong turning towards Disney. I was reassured by the fact that there is an Alamo car rental at Disney. How hard could it be to find it? I thought. So anyways…Disney is larger than Manhattan it transpires (true). After two hours a kind Epcot person – Jamie from Miami – took pity, printed out directions back to my condo, pointed me in the direction of Macdonalds for a cheeseburger, and I finally limped home, shattered and sorry for myself. Tonight I have a new car and new GPS and dinner with two good industry friends. What could possibly go wrong….? J

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