Plane Advantage: New Jet Models Aim to Please CEOs and CFOs

Well-equipped galleys allow preparation of gourmet meals in place of re-plated catering, while improved environmental and pressurization systems finely control temperature and humidity and maintain lower cabin altitudes. The G500 will boast business aviation’s lowest cabin altitude—4,875 feet at its 51,000-foot service ceiling—while fresh air is completely replenished every two minutes. (By comparison, airliners are pressurized to about 8,000 feet.) With new foam cushioning materials and electronic control capabilities, cabin seating is another area of OEM focus.

The Longitude’s fully berthable seats will be the largest yet in a Citation, allowing passengers to sleep comfortably in flight. Cessna has brought all interior back-shop completion capabilities—seat fabrication, upholstery, leatherwork and cabinetry among them—in-house, to ensure greater control over the quality of its cabins.

Even the rough-and-ready PC-24 offers a choice of executive interiors developed with BMW Group’s Designworks, designed for quick change from executive to cargo, medevac or combi configurations. All these jets boast large baggage compartments with in-flight access, another feature in growing demand. The PC-24, however, will be the only business jet with a standard pallet-sized baggage door, for quickly loading and unloading heavy gear—a feature borrowed from the PC-12.

No amenity today is more important than connectivity. These jets take advantage of new satellite and terrestrial networks and the OEMs’ proprietary cabin management systems to offer true broadband access to the web, seamless communication via passengers’ own smart devices and virtually limitless entertainment options. The G500 will offer worldwide (polar regions excluded) high-speed Internet access through Inmarsat’s new JetConneX Ka-band satellite network and Honeywell’s JetWave onboard hardware, which support online streaming and videoconferencing.

Peak Performance
As comfortable as private jets can be, the idea is to spend as little time aboard them as possible. Optimized airframe design, more powerful and efficient engines and digital flight decks combine to imbue these aircraft with faster cruise speeds, lower costs of operation and improved systems over comparable in-service models.

The Longitude fuselage uses transonic area rule design, while the Global 7000, powered by new GE Passport 20 engines, incorporates a transonic wing. Both innovations reduce drag as the aircraft approach the speed of sound. That boundary is tantalizingly close to these models. The G500’s top operating speed is Mach 0.925 and high-speed cruise is Mach 0.90, saving a key executive “a week or more [per year] compared to flying on an aircraft that can’t fly at point-nine-oh,” says Gulfstream’s Nale.

Meanwhile, the G500 burns almost 25% less fuel than the G450 it replaces, thanks in large part to the efficiency of its Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA engines.

All four cockpits have advanced digital flight decks with autothrottles and enhanced vision systems. The three larger models also have fly-by-wire controls that modify pilot inputs to optimize aircraft performance. The G500 is the first business jet with active sidestick controls and with a data concentration network, which acts like the aircraft’s central nervous system. The PC-24’s Advanced Cockpit Environment (ACE) avionics suite helps make the aircraft so easy to manage that it is certified for single pilot operations.

OEMs have also made these aircraft more reliable and easier to maintain, further reducing the cost of operation. The Longitude, for example, incorporates a LinxUs onboard diagnostic and fault isolation system that provides constant monitoring of aircraft systems, quickly identifying incipient problems and the source of squawks.