This week, Gulfstream announced a record-breaking flight by its G650 aircraft, flying non-stop from Singapore to Tucson, Arizona. This represents the longest business jet flight in history, leapfrogging a record flight earlier this year by Bombardier’s Global 7500.
The G650 flew 8,379 nautical miles (great circle distance is 7,990nm) in 15 hours 23 minutes at an average speed of 597 miles per hour. This beat the previous record by 44 minutes and 225 nautical miles.
Mark Burns, President of Gulfstream Aerospace, said that “The G650ER has no equal when it comes to its incredible combination of speed and range. Worldwide, you just can’t go farther faster, and this record proves it. With 350 aircraft in service, the G650 and G650ER show day in and day out that they are class-creating and -leading aircraft that set the standard when they were announced and continue to do so today. Simply put, all others follow.”
Are these record flights “apples to apples” for comparative purposes? Did both flights carry the same number of passengers, crew, and luggage? Were there more favorable tail winds on one of the record shattering days? Unless we have an independent competition where both aircraft take off at the same time, it will be difficult to provide a definitive comparison.
We will likely see additional record flights made by both manufacturers in the near future, as supremacy in range and speed provide a marketing advantage that each manufacturer wants. Competition is good, as that is what drives innovation in free markets. In the case of business jets, we are seeing performance grow to levels that were impossible a decade ago, and a decade from now will be routine.
The Bottom Line:
Leapfrog is good for innovation and improving the capabilities of business jets. Gulfstream just made a leap, and Bombardier is no doubt preparing for its next record with the slightly larger Global 7500, which claims a 200nm brochure range advantage. The competition is on and should be hot and heavy over the next few months.