Small private jet aircraft is an attempt to mimic the feeling of “lightness” for those seeking a distinctive travel in style. But without doubt the words “in style” mean beyond a coach class and even higher than any exclusive flight seating – be it first or business classes. It is an exquisite class of its own as it differs from a means of public air transport.
Without having to get shackled by a long queue or getting through a vexed paper work procedure, a private jet provides a free-hassle service as you embark on a luxury comfy flying object taking pleasure throughout the trip.
Bombardier Aerospace is unquestionably one of the major players in the private jet industry. The name might bring to mind someone wearing thick leather jacket and flying helmet. Indeed, the name derives from a figure of a man sitting inside a bomber aircraft aims to a target in where the bombs are set to launch. One can think of the metal with all unpleasantly smell oil and gun powder of which Bombardier aircraft series made is no more than a military function. In fact, it is not.
It was a Canadian mechanic by the name of Joseph Armand-Bombardier who had a dream of building a vehicle that could ‘float on snow.’ Gazing up at a star-spangled night sky, or at crystals hid by elves among snow mounds, his dream was reflected from his childhood where he was brought and raised in the snow covered land of Canada.
This creation of his should not be confused with North-American Bensen B7 Gyroglider, which came out in 1956, nor with series of Blackburn Bombardier 4 Cylinder inline-engine aircrafts. And while we might imagine, once again, of white bright cloud that goes with travel by aeroplane, and bring to mind with the first terrible years of World War II, the B7 was none of the above, nor some flying super fortress, but….a snow-mobile!
You can see in your mind energetic snow-men in ecstasy with Rudy the red-noosed Reindeer piping along! Snow is always a very great playful attraction for those who love its white soft mantle. But lest we forget that there was a dark cloud of war hung all over at that time, with all the restriction and prohibition, and since during a time of war-rationing prospective buyers of snowmobile had to prove to the Canadian Government why they needed such a vehicle during the time when sweet dreams turn into nightmares, Bombardier abandoned his dreams, reoriented strategies and started to develop land vehicles that would serve the U.S. military.
Private jet indeed offers travel convenience akin to taking a taxi wherever you want to go rather than shoving on a public bus. And for those crème de la crème travelers who enjoy flying their own private jet, like what John Travolta or other world-class affluent beings, all the sophisticated navigational gadgets and such are yours to play with.
There are three types of airplanes that can be categorized as private jets, the light, the mid-size, and the heavy. The three cater the need of those who have passed a certain phase of success.
A man or woman of success can no longer be tied with a mere shape, they deal and play with both the form and the formless. And from this formless point of view, all the world’s terrestrial problem can shrink and diminish until it vanishes all the way once you put yourself inside this purpose built flying machine. Sure this is not just a trip from a point to another but more as a part of greater meaning for a very small fraction of men or women who have already reached the top ladder of achievement.
In Southeast Asia, private jet realm is still in its infancy despite the fact that its growth over the past three years is beyond what expected. Nevertheless, the number of private jets in Asia is still incomparable with that in the U.S.
According to James Butler, the founder and CEO of Bethesda, Maryland-based Shaircraft Solutions, a company dealing with clients of private air travel in the United States, the world really opens up more airports for those flying with private jets. “While there are only 500 airports used by commercial air travel, the private jets can fly into over 5,500 airports in the United States alone,” he says.
A source from Flight International Magazine says that there are fewer aircraft in Asia than those in California even though the number of private jets has doubled in Asian countries. It is roughly estimated, according to survey from Jet Aviation of Asia Pacific, that there are 30 private jets in Indonesia, 10 in Malaysia and 2 in Singapore.
Bombardier has come to the forefront as a private jet giant and has dominated the world of private jets including in Southeast Asia. Private jet travelers have since been taking advantage of jet card membership.
Bombardier Aerospace has since 2000 been offering the Skyjet Card for frequent private jet travelers. The card gives members a choice of 25, 50 or 100 flight hours in a preferred size of aircraft with a 12-hour advanced reservation. In addition, members can get the option of earning credit toward whole or fractional aircraft ownership.
AWAKENING OF SLEEPING GIANT
In the late 1950s, Bombardier Aerospace had suffered its biggest loss in Canadian business history, making the giant asleep. After the death of Joseph-Armand Bombardier on February 18, 1964, his sons and sons-in-law accomplished a successful bid for the government owned aircraft manufacturer Canadair.
The late Bombardier’s son-in-law, Laurent Beaudoin, was placed as the head of a revamped Canadair to form Bombardier Aerospace. The business went back smoothly after the occasional bumps. This newly revamped company bought de Havilland Canada from the giant Boeing, also the bankrupt Short Brothers and Learjet operations into their account. Today, the aerospace division of Bombardier contributes more than fifty per cent of the company revenue, and perhaps is the third largest civil aircraft manufacturer in the world behind gigantic Boeing and Airbus.
Bombardier produces a large number of aeroplanes, amongst the most popular ones are the Dash 8 and CRJ series of regional airliners. Learjet continues to operate as a Bombardier’s subsidiary, but for greater differentiation reason it retains the Learjet mark; and of course, there is something lied in the name of ‘Learjet’ that will bring to mind a sleek shape of fuselage â la Brancusi’s attenuate birds in flight, while that of ‘Bombardier’ remains heavy, laden, just like a big bomber aircraft of the World War II.
Despite one might have in the first place connected the name Bombardier with military meaning, in particular of something unpleasant that fall from the sky bringing death and destruction, the company itself, after a short period of involvement over the past decades, finally – much to its great credit – completely out of military business in their aerospace line.
Our pictures here illustrate the interior of three magnificent samples of Bombardier series of aircrafts; the Global 5000, that seats up to 17 passengers and 2-3 crews, and the Challenger 605 series with 12 passengers seating and a crew of 2+1, and the smaller Learjet 60 XR. The more powerful Global 5000 is powered by Rolls Royce Deutschland engines, the BR710A2-20 turbofans, with a thrust of 14,750 lb. (65.6 kN), allowing a maximum ceiling of 51,000 feet at a speed of nearly 0.9 Mach, up to a distance of 4,800 nautical miles. Stuffed with state of the art avionics and communication systems, triple inmarsat channels, and single Iridium, the G5000 stands a cut above the rest. When the sky seems empty and silent behind the cockpit’s reconnoitering eyes, the upper air gives up land voices to the plane’s sleek fuselage cutting sharp through banks of cloud.
By comparison, the Challenger 605 series, is powered by General Electric CF34-3B turbofans, giving a thrust of 8,729 lb. (38.84 kN); outfitted with dual autopilot mechanism and a single auto-throttle, it can climb to a maximum ceiling of 41,000 feet, at a speed of 0.82 Mach. Flying range nearly reaches the 4,000 nautical miles limit.
If you imagine the entire line of aircrafts, on real tarmac, pushing them back and forth, imagining sumptuously sleek looking jets alight and growl on; or turn the torso swiftly and propel them so fast: rapidly climbing, touching heavens streaking into the horizon – and one could be forgiven for thinking that there is no more inspiring way to contemplate the many dilemma of earth’s dwellers, miniaturized, way down below.
Published in the 3rd edition of PMR Magazine S’pore, September 2008.