More than 100 Global 6000 jets, Bombardier’s third-generation globetrotter, are in service and the aircraft is winning high marks from operators who say it’s fast, comfortable, reliable and generally well supported. Trips up to 10 hr. duration may be flown at Mach 0.85, which is perfect for dashes between Shannon and Seattle, São Paulo and Lisbon or Buenos Aires and Boca Raton.

Most operators say they’re comfortable stretching their aircraft’s legs to 12 hr. at Mach 0.82 to 0.83, enabling them to fly from London to Los Angeles, Tokyo to Dallas or Miami to Moscow.

Other long-range aircraft can fly farther, but the Global 6000 is all about passenger comfort. Outside of Gulfstream’s G650 uber-jet, the Global 6000 has the largest cabin volume of any purpose-built business aircraft. Twelve to 16 passengers can be accommodated in three cabin sections. Most aircraft are configured with a forward four-chair club section, a central four-seat conference grouping and an aft stateroom with a three-place divan and two facing chairs on the opposite side.

Further, most are configured with a forward galley, crew rest chair (not a certified crew rest compartment) and crew lavatory. There is a second lavatory at the aft of the cabin with windows that provide bright, daylight illumination. The rear internal baggage compartment is accessible through a door in the aft section of the lav.

The Global 6000 retains the flexible wing structure of the original Global Express, affording one of the most comfortable rides in rough air of any purpose-built business aircraft. Compared to its predecessor, the Global XRS, it has improved acoustical insulation. Cabin sound levels are among the lowest in the business aircraft industry.

Cabin pressurization is another strong point. The 10.3-psi differential maintains a 4,500-ft. cabin altitude up to FL 450 and 5,680 ft. at FL 510, the aircraft’s certified ceiling. Most operators seldom cruise above FL 470, so cabin altitude never climbs above about 5,100 ft.

Bombardier’s Vision flight deck, powered by Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics, is perhaps the biggest upgrade from the XRS to the 6000. Compared to the Honeywell Primus 2000 package installed in the original Global Express and Global XRS, the Global 6000’s Vision cockpit has provisions for current and future air traffic management requirements, including RNP approaches, controller to pilot data link communications (CPDLC), automatic dependent surveillance (ADS-B) and LPV approaches.

The instrument panel has four 15-in., landscape configuration displays arranged in a T-pattern. The PFDs have standard synthetic vision. A Rockwell Collins HGS-6000, capable of supporting both EVS and SVS background imagery, and left- and right-side Class II EFBs are optional, according to Bombardier’s Schedule A Aircraft Description and Customer Support Service Manual.

“It’s an awesome airplane, comfortable, quiet, fast and high performance, plus it has tons of fuel,” says Bill Giannetti, chief pilot at Flightstar Corp., Savoy, Illinois. The firm also operates Learjet 40 and 45 light jets, a Challenger 300 and other makes of aircraft. “We’re big fans of Bombardier. The firm has made a lot of investment in business aviation.”

Operator Profiles

Our survey revealed operators chose the Global 6000 over competitive makes because of its cabin size, runway performance and speed. Many said they considered the Gulfstream G650, but it wasn’t available at the time and the order book backlog was too long. Many said they had satisfying experience with the Global Express, Global XRS and other Bombardier business jets and believed that the Global 6000 was a mature design, likely to have good dispatch reliability.

“We need to fly from home to India, China and other parts of Asia. We looked at the Dassault Falcon 7X and Gulfstream G550, but the cabins were no match,” says a flight department manager who flies a pair of Global 6000s.

Half the fleet is registered in North America, all but a few being N-registered. NetJets now operates at least six aircraft. Large U.S. corporations, including Aetna, Caterpillar and CitiGroup, plus Limited Brands, McDonald’s and Texas Instruments, fly Global 6000s, according to FAA registration records.

Lisbon-based NetJets Europe flies four aircraft and Malta-based VistaJet operates six, along with five Global 5000 and two Global XRS jets. A dozen aircraft are registered in the Isle of Man, mostly cloaked carefully inside shell companies to avoid identification of their owners. Four aircraft are registered in Austria, three in Switzerland and two in France, along with a couple in Denmark and one each in Finland, Germany, Ireland and Turkey.

In the Asia-Pacific region, three aircraft are registered in China, one in Malaysia and one in Hong Kong. A few are registered in the Cayman Islands. Two jets are based in São Paulo, two more are in South Africa and one is in India.

The aircraft has a theoretical full-tanks payload of 2,800 lb., enabling it to carry 14 passengers more than 6,100 nm, assuming NBAA IFR reserves. But those calculations are based upon Bombardier’s spec BOW of 52,230 lb. And none of the operators we contacted said their aircraft was so svelte.

Super light serial numbers weighed in at 52,400 lb. to 52,500 lb. A couple were north of 53,000 lb., still providing an eight- to nine-passenger tanks-full payload. Most are in the range of 52,500 lb. to 52,800 lb., so they can carry 11 to 12 people with full fuel.

However, few operators routinely carry more than six passengers, the maximum number who can be accommodated in full flat berths for overnight missions. A few operators carry up to 12 people on occasion, but seldom on missions longer than 4 to 5 hr.

Most operators say they’re flying their aircraft 450 to 600 hr. per year, but VistaJet and other fleet operators average upward of 100 hr. per month. Most people reported average flight durations of 3.5 to 4.5 hr., about 1,500 to 2,000 nm. More than a few, though, fly 3,500 to 4,000 nm, or longer, missions. The farthest most will fly is 5,700 nm to 5,800 nm.

The aircraft actually is capable of flying 300 to 400 miles farther, assuming NBAA IFR fuel reserves, but most operators say they want to land with much fatter fuel reserves. One former Bombardier demo pilot, though, said he’s comfortable flying the aircraft 13 hr. at Mach 0.82 to 0.83 as long as there’s VFR weather at the destination and multiple alternate airports nearby.

For simple short-range planning purposes, operators figure on burning 4,000 lb. per hour. They say they can climb directly into the mid-40s where the aircraft cruises efficiently at Mach 0.83 to 0.85, or 476 to 488 KTAS at ISA.

On longer missions, they plan on burning 5,000 lb. for the first hour, 4,000 lb. the second hour, 3,000 lb. the third hour and about 2,500 lb. during the final hour. Most say they climb directly to FL 410 and cruise at Mach 0.82 to 0.83. Long-range cruise speed is Mach 0.80, but operators say there’s little to be gained by slowing down 11 to 16 kt.

On the longest missions, ones requiring a fuel stop, U.S. operators say they land at quick-turn airports such as Anchorage en route to the Far East, Helsinki if flying to India, or San Jose, Costa Rica, when traveling to the farthest cities in South America.

Five Most and Least Liked Features

Cabin comfort easily topped the list of operators’ five most-liked features. The cabin is 48 ft. long, including crew rest, galley, seating areas, aft lavatory and aft inflight accessible baggage compartment. Overall floor area is 335 sq. ft. and volume is 2,140 cu. ft. The cross section is the largest in the purpose-built aircraft class outside of the G650. The cabin has 28 side windows, giving it the appearance of a small jetliner rather than a large business aircraft.

“We’ve operated GII, GIII and GIV aircraft before the 6000. The difference in cabin comfort is no contest,” says one operator who also flies a Global Express.

Each of the three seating areas has three windows on each side. There are two more windows that illuminate the section between the forward and mid-cabin seating sections, plus two windows in the aft lavatory. The Global 6000’s generous cabin width allows use of wider cabin seats than in some other long-range jets, affording passengers more hip and elbow room. The cross section also provides excellent head and shoulder room for seated passengers.

As with most long-range business aircraft, the forward section of the cabin has a crew compartment with a rest seat, galley and crew lav. The standard aircraft has an aft stateroom.

Operators also said interior sound levels seem quieter than in previous Global Express or XRS aircraft. Lower noise levels result from improved acoustical insulation coupled with the aircraft’s improved and relatively high 10.3-psid pressurization system. Wing loading is one of the highest of any purpose-built business aircraft and the wing structure is comparatively flexible, providing a more comfortable ride in turbulence than many competitive long-range jets.

“It’s much less fatiguing than any other long-range aircraft,” says Giannetti.

Runway performance also is a favorite feature. The aircraft, for instance, can depart a 3,400-ft. sea-level runway and fly a 2,000-nm mission. Hot-and-high performance is enhanced with slats/flaps 0 deg. and slats/flaps 6 deg. high-lift configurations. The Global 6000 can depart Mexico City’s Toluca airport at ISA+25C and fly to Madrid. Virtually any city in Europe is within range when departing Johannesburg at ISA+25C.

The aircraft has excellent payload-versus-range loading flexibility because its tanks-full payload is one of the highest of any purpose-built business aircraft. Typically equipped, it can carry 11 to 12 people with full fuel.

Systems redundancy, automation and reliability ranked high on the lists of favorite features. The aircraft, for example, has dual AC generators on each engine, an APU AC generator and another generator driven by a deployable ram air turbine. It was one of the first aircraft to have a secondary electrical distribution system with electronic circuit breakers that reduce cockpit clutter.

It also has a triple redundant hydraulic system, two AC and one DC fuel pumps in each wing feed tank and a comprehensive onboard maintenance diagnostics system. Operators say the aircraft has dispatch reliability on par with best in class large-cabin business aircraft.

Systems have proved so trouble free that Bombardier two years ago embarked upon a program to extend scheduled inspection intervals by as much as 50%. “A” checks now come at 750-hr. intervals rather than 50 hr. and “C” checks have been extended to 30 months from 15 months. Bombardier eliminated as many out-of-phase maintenance tasks as possible. However, some routine servicing tasks, involving lubrication and parts replacements, could not be escalated. But such tasks represent a small portion of the maintenance workload.

Some scheduled maintenance tasks were eliminated altogether, though new requirements for inspections of thrust reverser seals and replacement of bleed air thermostat filters were added.

Overall, Bombardier claims the longer intervals will slash 1,250 hr. of maintenance during a 20-year service life, resulting in a $20 per hour reduction in direct operating costs as well as higher dispatch availability.

“It’s a very well manufactured airplane,” says Bruce McNeely CEO of My Jet Guy.

The Vision cockpit received top marks, with some operators saying it was best in class. Surprisingly, we also heard that from one G650 operator. Operators say the graphic user interface reduces the number of keystrokes needed to program the system during all phases of flight.

“It’s a huge improvement,” says Dan Anderson, chief pilot at Texas Instruments. “Our crews love it,” says Nick Van Der Meer, VistaJet’s account manager. “It’s light years ahead of its competition,” says another operator. But one chief pilot remarked that the system has little direct benefit for passengers.

Operators were stumped when asked to list five features they disliked the most. A few came up with two or three nits. The one that popped up most frequently was the temperamental Rockwell Collins cabin management system (CMS). Ten revisions to system software now have ironed out most of the difficulties, but operators say they still must allow 10+ min. for boot up.

“You have to let it do its own thing, leave it alone for 15 to 20 min. Don’t touch anything,” says Van Der Meer. “We get used to a lot of ‘control/alt/delete’ reboots,” says a Midwest U.S. operator. “It’s a problem child. It has to be coddled until it’s ready to play,” says another. “Version 10 software is not the answer. There seems to be no urgency to fix it, no active follow-up,” remarks a fourth chief pilot. “Bombardier was late to the game in addressing these issues,” says a flight department manager who took delivery of an early serial number aircraft.

T.I.’s Anderson had no complaints about the Rockwell Collins CMS. That’s because Lufthansa Technik’s nice cabin management system is installed in his company’s aircraft. Bombardier and Rockwell Collins continue to work on improvements.

All aircraft have Inmarsat and Viasat Ku-band satcom systems, plus LAN systems. Most also have Wi-Fi. Operators say it works just fine, but connection charges are pricey. To slash Internet connection fees, they’d like Bombardier to offer an Aircell Gogo Biz air-to-ground system for transcontinental and southern Canada flying. Notably, air-to-ground connectivity may become even less expensive, now that AT&T and Honeywell have announced plans to develop a system to compete with Aircell.

Fleet and charter operators were more apt to encounter wear-and-tear problems than corporate flight departments. Van Der Meer, for example, says VistaJet’s aircraft has had snags with pocket doors, foldout worktables and cabinet hinges. Another high utilization operator said he’s had problems with electrically actuated passenger chairs.

Grading Details

Operators generally gave Bombardier top marks for technical support. Parts support for operators near the Chicago parts depot and Bombardier’s Bradley International Airport facility outside Hartford, Connecticut, is excellent. Others said that parts support has greatly improved in recent years, but it’s still not on a par with top-ranked Gulfstream.

“Product support and parts availability are awesome. It’s not what you hear about from years ago,” says Randy Hutton at McDonald’s. 

Operators said that the basic green airplane, systems and Rolls-Royce BR710 turbofan engines are very reliable, outgrowing some teething problems with early serial number units. 

When we asked operators how they rank the aircraft system-by-system, some mentioned variable frequency generator bearing problems they’ve experienced. Bombardier is replacing all the units as needed to remedy the malady.

Other systems scored well, with many operators saying that the carbon wheel brakes are the longest lasting of any aircraft they’ve flown.

There was some difference of opinion regarding the quality of FAR Part 142 simulator training providers. FlightSafety Columbus and CAE/Bombardier Dallas earned top marks. Bombardier’s own facility in Montreal received checkered marks, especially for initial training. Operators say that it was too rigid, not adaptable to their needs. A few say initial training in Montreal seemed as though it were as much infomercial as training. But most say that Bombardier’s Montreal training center has improved in recent years.

On balance, operators are quite satisfied with the Global 6000. “We’ve had a good experience. It’s fast, reliable and quiet,” says McDonald’s Hutton. A few said it needs a better crew rest area, more cockpit legroom for tall pilots and fly-by-wire flight controls, as well as more range.

With few exceptions, Global 6000 operators say they plan to stay with Bombardier for their next long-range, large-cabin business aircraft. The upcoming 7,300-nm range Global 7000 and 7,900-nm range Global 8000 jets not only offer more range than the Global 6000, they embody the improvements operators say they want in their next aircraft. That suggests Bombardier will have plenty of launch customers for the 7000 and 8000, the largest cabin and farthest flying purpose-built business jet yet announced by any manufacturer.

It took Bombardier 15 years and three generations of Globals to achieve this level of customer loyalty. That investment now is paying off. Global 6000 operators are among the most faithful in the business aircraft community and Bombardier will reap the rewards for years to come.