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Moscow to New York? Tokyo to Dubai? Delhi to London? No landings? No problem! Business jet manufacturers are always quick to respond to

The ultra-long range class is growing, ready to tackle space and time in a new way. BY Alexey Korolev and Ivan Veretennikov


the needs of their customers.

The ultra-long range class is growing, ready to tackle space and time in a new way


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n the mid-90s, when the first Bombardier Global Express


hit the market like an artillery volley, not many believed that the new ultra-long range business jet niche had room for significant growth. The Global and the famous Gulfstream G550 immediately became the elite of business aviation – flying the farthest, offering the most spacious cabins, and costing more than anything else. The French manufacturer Dassault Aviation even considered the market too small for a third competitor – who knows, maybe it was an inherent lack of enthusiasm for globalisation – but the mass movements of capital, relocation of manufacturing facilities, the continuing national and cultural interaction were too much even for the most firm anti-globalists. The ULRs not only remained on the market, but went on to establish new trends in business aviation – an industry that definitively left the cradle of the US and flew out to all corners of the world. When buying a private or corporate aircraft, people started paying extra attention to the flight range and cabin comfort. Long flights were officially “in”.

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Bigger, faster and better. The new jets are the best yet. I Am Global The above slogan was devised by Bombardier marketing specialists for the ultra-long range Global models. Today the manufacturing facilities of the Canadian airframer churn out the two successors of the first Express – the Global 5000 and Global 6000. The latter was recently renamed from the Express XRS, and small wonder: Bombardier announced two new aircraft at NBAA 2010 in Atlanta: the Global 7000 and Global 8000. The numbers are there for a reason, representing the max range of each aircraft in nautical miles. Each of these machines are worth a closer look, especially the new ones. Catch Up and Overtake With all due respect to Bombardier, it was another company that started a new race for range and comfort. By the time the Canadians announced their renovated lineup, the competing G650 had


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Cabin comfort is king. these interiors are built for important people to be conmfortable in

Electronic control of air, sound and vision


already been a year into its certification programme. On the other hand, Bombardier was quick to join and offered even more than expected: two new models instead of one. Both of them are built around long range and cabin comfort. From the outside, the two newcomers look like true representatives of the Global family. The clean and sharp lines of a streamlined fuselage, the muscular wing, an assertive T-tail, and an elegant row of windows on each side. The interior also follows Bombardier traditions: flawless quality and a tried and tested combination of natural and hi-tech aviation materials. The Global 8000 is set to become the furthest-flying of all business jets with its range of 7900 nautical miles, almost what the name implies (the G650 is aimed at 7000). It will take from 8 to 19 passengers depending on the layout, with full fuel, while its 2236 cu. ft. cabin has enough space to consider different interior settings. Despite a smaller range of 7300 nm, the Global 7000 will offer a cavernous cabin with a volume of 2637 cu. ft., closing in on bizliners, and will become the biggest traditional business jet. It will carry a maximum 19 passengers, while its full range will be available with 10 on board – that’s a lot for legs that can take you halfway round the world. It looks like Bombardier has really managed to conquer space. And time too, with a Mach .90 high speed cruise.

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Sensibly priced ways to take flight What if you only wanted something to complement your long-range business jet or needed a flying machine to make a megayacht more flexible? What if age didn’t matter much as long as the aircraft was in good condition? Or how about a versatile turboprop to take you anywhere? $5,000,000 is a great starting point for buying flying property and options are out there. BY Ivan Veretennikov


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The Pilatus from Switzerland is a comfortable plane within budget

Beechcraft Air King


s in our past articles, we look at new and pre-owned markets with a certain sum of money to determine which aircraft constitutes the best bargain. This time there is a difference, however: with $5 million, based in the Middle East, we have to cater to various needs. For some, a new comfortable helicopter is the perfect solution, taking into account the time saved on each transfer. For others, a

sturdy turboprop allows short hops between cities, landing on unprepared runways, heavyduty operations or the occasional short and relaxed business trip in a plush interior. And there are always buyers looking for a good business jet, notwithstanding its age. After all, the lifespan of an aircraft is virtually unlimited, and a well-equipped old jet is in many ways as good as a new one – in the right hands.

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The Choppers Considering helicopters available for $5 million, let’s not to delve into the depths of the pre-owned market. With a new helicopter, the owner gets better financing options, warranty service, crew training, and other useful bonuses, as well as better resale value. Our choice is down to three machines: the Bell 407, Eurocopter AS355, and AgustaWestland AW119Ke. The major advantage of the AS355 is that it’s twin-engined, theoretically meaning it is safer. If one engine goes out, the other is sufficient to keep it flying. Another good thing is its heritage: it was derived directly from the AS350, the only helicopter to ever land on top of Mount Everest. This says a lot about its performance at high altitude, and hot temperatures are also no problem. The Bell 407, on the other hand, is said to lose much of its drive in hot temperatures, it won’t take off as fast or carry as heavy a load in the usual Middle East climate. It is offered

by the American manufacturer for $3 million, and is said to be much more straightforward for pilots and ground service crews. A simple, reliable, and relatively inexpensive machine capable of serious aerobatic stunts. A comfortable flying sedan, however, can be forgiven a lack of willingness to demonstrate tricks as long as it’s a steady and luxurious ride. The AW119 has a range of 935 km, compared to 611 km of the 407 and 731 km of the AS355, while having the fastest top speed (258 km/h). The VIP interior has great finishing, a feel for ergonomics, and outstan-

ding flexibility. This comes at a price, however – you will pay more at acquisition and in operations, but receive for it the speed, range, and a lot of horsepower from its one engine – almost as much as the AS355 offers from its two. The Props Turboprop aircraft can handle jobs that jets simply cannot, accessing more airfields and burning less fuel. Their chrome propellers and low rumble send us back to the times when aviation was romantic, while the per-

Learjet 40


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The Eurocopter EC135 is a potential purchase with this budget

formance they offer is suitable for more than just utility flights. This is especially true of the beautiful Piaggio Avanti II, the fastest civilian turboprop with a top speed of 745 km/h. A three-year-old aircraft can be purchased with our budget, endowing the owner with a 175 cm tall cabin that is bigger than that of light jets. The head-turning model has a distinctively sporty feel (no wonder the Ferrari team flies one of these). Like a supercar, this aeroplane is expensive, while it may not be as rugged as the competition. This is where the Pilatus PC-12NG, available new for under $5 million, easily beats it. Although not as fast or streamlined as the Italian machine, the Swiss performer can be operated on unpaved runways and has a bigger range. Its single engine is the most popular and reliable in the world – the Pratt & Whitney PT6 (also installed on the Avanti and King Air), al-


lowing it to carry as many as 9 passengers, although a comfortable configuration would be with six. The PC-12 is a great heavy-duty aeroplane, ready to take on air ambulance, cargo, and other special missions. Its versatility and durability, plus the biggest baggage compartment in its class, have made it the machine of choice for private and corporate owners, as well as air taxi companies all over the world. But although it is a nice VIP aircraft, the Beechcraft King Air easily beats it in looks – and other parameters too. Where the Avanti is sleek and aggressive, the King Air is timeless in its perfect balance. The gleaming propeller cones, round windows, and clean lines make any King Air model instantly recognisable. Buying new, the C90GTx is available with a 2208 km range, 504 km/h cruising speed and the best field performance among competitors. A major advan-

tage, as with almost all Hawker Beechcraft aeroplanes, is that this model is a pinnacle of many years of evolution, proven by years of service and arguably safest in its class. Bigger and more advanced modifications, such as the King Air 250, are sold on the preowned market. The Jets Among new aircraft the buyer with $5,000,000 can choose between the Embraer Phenom 100, Cessna Citation Mustang or, if he is of an adventurous disposition, the HondaJet (which definitely has a few years to go until deliveries start). Between the three, the Mustang is the cheapest and smallest, and is the only true entry-level jet with just four seats in its car-like interior. It has a nice range that beats the Phenom, while its runway performance is the best in its class. The

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Jets are still in reach in the $5m range

Brazilian jet traditionally has the biggest baggage compartment and is significantly larger than the Mustang. It is roughly the same as the HondaJet in cross-section, but its cabin is over 2 metres shorter. On the other hand, it costs a lot less and is in fact being delivered by Embraer by the hundred each year, while the prospects of the Japanese machine – although boasting good looks and attractive characteristics – are still unclear. Going for pre-owned, the buyer can step a class up from entry-level and choose from light jets that are 2—3 years old, such as the Cessna CJ2 or Learjet 40XR. These are relatively small aircraft that don’t cost a whole lot to operate, with the Learjet boasting a much bigger range, speed, rate of climb, and ceiling (climbing to 15545 m). The Cessna has better runway performance and significantly lower operating costs. Flying in the Middle East, all of the above jet aircraft would only be suitable for short regional hops, some even losing out to the turboprops in terms of maximum range. If the owner is looking for a bigger flight distance it might be worthwhile to consider offers with a longer history. The Hawker 800XP, Falcon 50, and Challenger 601-3A can all be acquired with our budget, however, there will be a big difference in age. There are Hawkers on sale built in 2002–’03, while the Dassault and Bombardier jets will be much older, going back to the nineties or even late eighties. If range and cabin size are essential, however, the 601 is worth a look. It is much bigger (29 cu. m. cabin compared to 19.8 and 17.1 of the Falcon 50 and Hawker 800XP respectively) and has a 6241 km flight range – the same as a Falcon and much more than a Hawker. It also offers the biggest baggage compartment to make sure skis, travel essentials, or business attire is not left at home. The Falcon 50 is a particularly beautiful aeroplane with three engines, and its refined aerodynamics mean it flies further with less fuel. It is in fact much cheaper to operate

Embraer P100 Hawker H800XP

Augusta AWK 119

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The Bell 407 Gó raszka is good for enthusiastic pilots

than the Challenger, although the 800XP is much cheaper than both. Even a large jet can be acquired for this money – a Dornier 328 with a luxury 6—8 seat interior. The aircraft can fly 3200 km at 690 km/h and has a truly stand-up 189 cm cabin, a cavernous 7.84 cu. m. baggage compartment, and enough space to let an interior designer have a go. Although its operating costs will also be rather high. The Choice It is always hard to point to a particular aircraft and say “this one”, no matter what money is available and even if the choice is purely theoretical. Various aircraft work for various missions. We say – go for the AW119 if you need a good match for a luxury yacht,


a Bell 407 if you are an enthusiastic pilot, or the AS355 if heavy-duty performance is your thing. Get a Piaggio Avanti II for the speed and looks, a PC-12NG for the size and versatility, or a King Air for sturdiness, traditions, and a timeless feel. Out of the new jets, go for a Mustang if you need a flying car, or choose the Phenom 100 for its light jet interior and relatively low price. Or, alternatively, wait for the HondaJet – it can become a great supplement to a G650… or a Global 7000 if it takes until 2017 to come out. On the pre-owned market, shop for the CJ2 if you want to fly yourself and need a simple and reliable machine. Get a Learjet 40XR as a fast, long-range light jet or look to a Hawker 800XP that will be a lot more spacious while offering solutions proven by half a cen-

tury of service. The stunning Falcon 50 is out there for the adherents of technology. It may not be the height of fashion these days, but it’s the best in aerodynamics and equipment considering the age. Plus it burns less fuel and makes a statement of your good taste. Don’t pass on the Challenger 601, however, if you require a large cabin and good range. This is a classic aircraft, perfectly balanced and boasting great performance even by modern standards. If you want something even bigger – get the Dornier 328 in a VIP configuration, ask the flight attendant for a glass of your favourite beverage and enjoy your new acquisition for under $5,000,000. Actually, this goes for any of the above – keeping in mind that a flight attendant can only ❚ properly fit on the last two.

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Most of the world is one flight away. From Dubai it is literally possible to be a global passenger Backed by the Best Just ten years ago huge international corporations, top government figures, and the odd Hollywood star used to be the main users of ultra-long range jets. It’s almost the same today – but not quite. The number of people who need to move quickly and cover long distances, even at the sacrifice of high costs, continues to grow. Even the recession that we are all so tired of has not really affected the ULR segment. The Global brand is no longer associated just with Wall Street moguls or oil field owners. Its new ambassadors are people of art. This is easy to explain: they must chase their fame, which has already reached every part of the planet. The famous Russian composer and conductor Valery Gergiev is a frequent flyer among a Global, and it’s no luxury when today you are rehearsing with the London Symphony Orchestra and tomorrow you are expected at the San Francisco Opera. The young, but equally famous Chinese piano virtuoso Lang Lang is also someone whose life and career are so fast and full of events that anything slower than a jet is too slow. Only a global outreach is enough to achieve the many goals ahead. It won’t be true, however, that only people who are far from pure pragmatism choose Global aircraft. Respected operators whose prime concern is that of the economy and efficiency of their fleets have already voted for the new Bombardier products with their wallet. Such business aviation leaders as NetJets and Vista Jet have already signed major multi-million contracts for the Global 7000 and 8000, and they are ready to wait until 2017 and 2018 as these aircraft enter service. To achieve global domination, each step and decision has to be very well-considered. And there’s ❚ no need to hurry.


Altitudes Arabia #23  

Ivan Veretennikov, business jet, business aviation, Russia, Gulfstream, G550, Bombardier, Global, Pilatus, Eurocopter, AgustaWestland, Pheno...