Record, Record, Who's Got The Record?

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

With Aerion seemingly taking its time bringing an SSBJ to market, traditional bizjet makers aren't standing still, even though they're still mired in the subsonic world. Within the last month, both Gulfstream and Bombardier announced new speed records for their larger, longer-range aircraft while being flown across the Atlantic Ocean en route to one air show or another. In Savannah, Ga.-based Gulfstream's case, it was a G450 on May 17, 2005 -- just a week after entering service -- that established a new city-pair speed record between the DuPage, Ill., airport in the Chicago area and London. The G450 covered the 3,550 nm in 0719, for an average speed of Mach .85. The company said en route winds were nil and the aircraft landed with 3,500 lb of fuel remaining. Meanwhile, Bombardier's Global 5000, which the company bills as the fastest transcontinental civil aircraft since the Concorde, on June 11 set a new speed record, flying slightly further than the G450 (3,510 nm) in slightly less time (0715). The Global's flight, also from the Chicago area -- Palwaukee, Ill., this time -- to Le Bourget Airport in Paris carried a production interior, a four-person crew, and a payload of 1,600 lbs. Bombardier says its Global 5000 cruised at Mach 0.88 or higher throughout the flight, experienced some moderate tailwinds, and landed with fuel reserves in excess of NBAA IFR requirements. Both flights were submitted to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which certifies aviation records. Predictably, both companies used the occasions to tout their products' capabilities. Said Roger Noble, assistant chief pilot for Bombardier Business Aircraft and pilot-in-command on the Global 5000, "This flight clearly demonstrates the Global 5000's superior speed, range and handling capabilities ... first announced at its February 2002 launch." Gulfstream rolled out Pres Henne, senior vice president, programs, engineering and test, who said, "This record-setting flight further demonstrates that the G450 is perfect for international travel. The G450 can take you faster and farther than any other business jet in its class." Now, if we can just get them to fly somewhere in formation...