Bombardier Aerospace now has two flight-test vehicles (FTVs) engaged in “active testing” for its Global 5500/6500 program, the company announced yesterday. The flight-test aircraft—a Global 6500 FTV unveiled in May at EBACE and another representing the Global 5500—are currently based at the Bombardier Flight Test Center in Wichita.
The new Globals are powered by 15,125-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 engines, which were certified in February. Bombardier also revealed yesterday that the first flight-test vehicle equipped with the Pearl engines—the Global 6500—made its inaugural flight on January 31. Because the engine nacelles are the same exact size as those on the Global 5000 and 6000, the test aircraft was able to operate undetected in plain view in Wichita for four months before Bombardier’s surprise announcement at EBACE.
Beyond the engines, the new Globals include a wing with a re-profiled trailing edge for better aerodynamics and high-speed performance. The combination of the new engine and redesigned wing produces faster models with a top speed of Mach 0.90, and 13 percent lower fuel burn. These changes further boost the range of the Global 5500 to 5,700 nm (500 nm more than the 5000), and the Global 6500 to 6,600 nm (600 nm more than the 6000).
The program is progressing “on track” toward certification and service entry later next year, Bombardier said.