Bombardier Steals The Show

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Global Express XRS Is Launched ...

Without a doubt, Bombardier Aerospace made the most noise with a slew of product and service announcements throughout the week. The manufacturer made three aircraft-related announcements at the show, including it's biggest headline this year: the official launch of the Ultra-Long Range Global Express XRS Global Express XRS business jet.

Claiming the jet "takes the outstanding performance of the Bombardier Global Express even further," Bombardier says will eventually replace the current Global Express design with the XRS. The $45.3 million jet will feature improved performance over its predecessor and offer a far-reaching 6,500 nm range at .82 Mach. The XRS will also sport new cabin features including, increased pressurization (4,500-foot cabin altitude at flight level 450), two added windows and the latest LED lighting system.

Bombardier also announced a new zero flaps takeoff capability will allow Bombardier Global Express XRS operators to depart from "hot and high" airports at higher temperatures and with a greater fuel load.

... Global 5000 Makes NBAA Debut ...

On October 5, the new Bombardier Global 5000 arrived at Orlando Executive Airport for its first-ever appearance at NBAA. In addition to the aircraft display, a full-size mockup of the forward cabin section was unveiled on the convention floor. Bombardier claims the super-large business jet is capable of flying non-stop from Continental Europe to central North America at Mach 0.85 (562 mph) with eight passengers and a crew of three.

The aircraft achieved its first flight on March 7, 2003 at Bombardier's Toronto facility. Since arriving at Bombardier's flight test center in Wichita, it "has been meeting or exceeding all expectations and has covered all corners of the flight envelope," Bombardier officials told AVweb. As of mid-September, the aircraft had crossed the halfway mark in its flight test program, accumulating over 160 hours during 58 flights. Transport Canada has recently completed their initial evaluation of the aircraft to include all systems testing and CAT II certification. The second and final aircraft in the flight test program is scheduled to take place this December. It will then be equipped with a full production interior at Bombardier's Montreal completion center before entering flight-testing for interior function and reliability testing.

Officials told AVweb type certification by Transport Canada, FAA and JAA is on target for the first quarter of 2004 with entry into service as a corporate demonstrator in the fourth quarter of 2004.

... Celebrates Learjet's 40th Anniversary ...

On October 7, Bombardier celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first flight of a Learjet business jet. The company marked the aviation milestone during a 4 p.m. ceremony at its display area inside the Orange County Convention Center. The ceremony's timing was right on target, as it marked the exact moment that a Learjet 23, s/n 001, took off from Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport at 4 p.m., October 7, 1963. Bob Hagen and Hank Beaird, the test pilots who made the historic first flight, were on hand to participate in the commemorative event. Shanda Lear, daughter of Learjet founder Bill Lear, was also present.

More than 2,300 Bombardier Learjet aircraft have been delivered worldwide since the first flight with more joining the fleet monthly as Bombardier -- which acquired Learjet on June 29, 1990 -- continues to develop the Learjet family with its newest models, the Bombardier Learjet 40 and Bombardier Learjet 45 XR. These are scheduled to enter service within the next few months.

... And The 600th Challenger Delivery ...

On October 8, Bombardier Aerospace celebrated the delivery of the 600th Bombardier Challenger widebody business jet. During a special ceremony at the Orlando Executive airport, the Bombardier Challenger 604, s/n 5557, was formally delivered to Clearwater Fine Foods of Bedford, Nova Scotia. At the ceremony, officials announced that as of July 31, 2003, the Challenger fleet had accumulated more than 2.45 million flight hours while posting a reported dispatch reliability exceeding 99.7 per cent.