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World’s largest private jet – The new $75 million Gulfstream G700

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Gulfstream has taken the bragging rights from previous title holder, Bombardier, as builder of the world’s biggest private jet.

  • The G700 has the tallest, widest, and longest cabin in the industry
  • The culmination of almost 14,000 hours of lab tests
  • A process that will incorporate 6 test aircraft
  • Qatar Airways immediately put in an order for 10 G700’s
  • Gulfstream anticipates first customer deliveries in 2022
Gulfstream G700 Launch Event October 21 2019
Gulfstream G700 Launch Event, October 21 2019. Credit: Gulfstream.

Oct 21, eve of the 2019 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, Gulfstream announced its new flagship the G700. During the event Gulfstream President Mark Burns revealed a full-scale mockup of the G700 which sports the tallest, widest and longest cabin in business jet history.

Gulfstream G700 flying
The G700 will retail for around US $75 million. Credit: Gulfstream.

General Dynamics who owns Gulfstream will be hoping prior investments into Gulfstream will pay dividends, and that the new $US75 million luxury jet will seduce the world’s wealthiest flyers. Initial signs are promising with the official launch customer being Qatar Airways, which has ordered 10 aircraft for its charter service Qatar Executive. Additionally the first North American customer was Flexjets with an undisclosed number of orders for the G700.

Cabin design

Gulfstream President, Mark Burns, stated “Customers shared how much they value flexibility and comfort in the cabin, all without compromising the speed and range advantages they have come to expect from Gulfstream. The G700 delivers all that and more”.

“Gulfstream has a long tradition of listening to our customers, and the G700 cabin is the evolution of that collaboration.”

Gulfstream President Mark Burns

The G700’s cabin length is 56 feet and 11 inches, not including a 195-cubic-foot baggage area. It also stands six feet and three inches high, and measures eight feet and two inches wide with passenger comfort further enhanced by the industry’s lowest cabin altitude and 100 percent fresh air.

The Gulfstream G700 Cabin
The Gulfstream G700 has up to 5 living zones on board. Credit: Gulfstream.
The Gulfstream G700 Cabin
The Gulfstream G700 Cabin is the largest in the business jet industry. Credit: Gulfstream.

The spacious design allows the jet to seat up to 19 passengers and sleep up to 10. With up to five living areas, the G700 offers an extra-large ultragalley with a passenger lounge or crew compartment, a six-place dining or conference room and a master suite with shower. You can also count the clouds through any of the 20 Gulfstream panoramic oval windows, the largest in the industry.

Lighting system to combat jet lag

The aircraft also offers a range of cabin amenities that revolutionize the benefits of business-jet travel, including the most advanced circadian lighting system in aviation. The Gulfstream developed technology recreates sunrise and sunset through thousands of white and amber LEDs, gently coaxing passengers into their new time zone and greatly reducing the physical impact of traveling halfway around the world nonstop.

Gulfstream G700 taxiing
The G700 will feature all new, high thrust Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines. Credit: Gulfstream.

Power and performance

All new, high thrust Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines power the G700 and, along with newly designed Gulfstream winglets, ensure the aircraft achieves high performance capabilities with its larger, longer cabin.

The new engines give the G700 the ability to fly at faster speeds (Mach 0.90 versus Mach 0.80) thus giving customers more time, lower annual expenses for maintenance, parts and services, and shorter crew days for safer operations. Distance wise, the G700 can fly 7,500 nautical miles/13,890 kilometers at Mach 0.85 or 6,400 nm/11,853 km at Mach 0.90.

The Gulfstream G700 Cockpit
The Gulfstream G700 Cockpit. Credit: Gulfstream.
The Gulfstream G700 sleeping
The Gulfstream G700 can sleep up to 10 people. Credit: Gulfstream.

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New partnership between Aston Martin and Airbus Corporate Helicopters

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New partnership between Aston Martin and Airbus Corporate Helicopters brings together automotive and aeronautical design teams.
  • First creation to be revealed on the 3rd of January 2020
  • Initial clues point to the H130 as the focus helicopter

Aston Martin Lagonda and Airbus Corporate Helicopters yesterday revealed a new partnership that brings together the best of automotive and aeronautical design. For the past 12 months designers from both brands have worked together on the aesthetic styling of the first product from this collaboration, which is set to be revealed early in Q1 2020.

The teaser video gives very little information away, other than its title “ACH130 AM TEASER 16X9”, which suggests the collaboration is initially around the Airbus H130 Helicopter and may officially be called the ACH130 AM.

The Airbus Corporate Helicopters H130
Some stats of the Airbus H130. Credit: Airbus Helicopters

Commenting on the new partnership, Aston Martin Lagonda Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman said: “Applying our own automotive design principles in the aerospace world is a fascinating challenge and one that we are very much enjoying. I’m looking forward to the reveal in the New Year so we can show everyone what we have accomplished together.”

Airbus Corporate Helicopters is the global market leader in the private and business aviation (PBA) sector with more than 1,800 aircraft fielded in 130 countries and a market share in excess of 50%.

Frédéric Lemos, Head of Airbus Corporate Helicopters, said: “This is a bold cooperation which corresponds to our tradition of experimenting with new design approaches, the result is a unique creation of breathtaking design accomplishment and beauty.”

The Airbus Corporate Helicopters H160
The Airbus Corporate Helicopters H160 design by Peugeot Design Lab

Recently, Airbus Corporate Helicopters collaborated with Peugeot Design Lab on the $18 million H160 helicopter and last year Aston Martin collaborated on a $4 million submarine with Triton Submarines.

Project Neptune
Project Neptune, a partnership between Aston Martin and Triton Submarines. Credit: Aston Martin

The first creation of the Aston Martin and Airbus Corporate Helicopters partnership will be revealed at Courchevel, in the French Alps on 3 January 2020.

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Rolls-Royce announces new hybrid-electric flight i-5 demonstrator aircraft

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Rolls-Royce has taken one more significant step towards the ambition to provide hybrid-electric propulsion systems for next gen aviation

Rolls-Royce hybrid electric  APUS i-5 demonstrator aircraft
The Rolls-Royce hybrid electric APUS i-5 demonstrator aircraft. Credit: Rolls-Royce
  • Rolls-Royce earlier created an M250 hybrid power system and conducted ground tests
  • The APUS i-5 plane will now be used to demonstrate its integration with an aircraft
  • The M250 hybrid power pack also complements systems being developed for larger aircraft as seen with the E-Fan X demonstrator

Earlier this year Rolls-Royce announced it had conducted ground tests of a hybrid-electric propulsion system built around an M250 turboshaft engine. All it needed now was to find an airframe to integrate the system into. Rolls-Royce has now found that airframe and taken one more significant step towards realising the ambition to provide hybrid-electric propulsion systems for the next generation of aviation.

“Rolls-Royce has always been a pioneer in aviation and one of the key elements of our strategy is to champion electrification across all our businesses”

Dr Mike Mekhiche, Deputy Director, Rolls-Royce Electrical

Dr Mekhiche added, “Electrification is one of the most exciting developments in aviation since the birth of the jumbo jet. We are determined to use our pedigree in aerospace to be at the forefront of developing innovative propulsion systems to meet the needs of the next chapter in aviation. When this happens, it’s going to transform the way aero transport is designed and produced, reducing the time required to travel, revolutionising cargo delivery and changing the way we design our cities and infrastructure.” 

The 5 elements of the Rolls-Royce strategy
Championing electrification is one of the 5 elements of the Rolls-Royce strategy. Credit: Rolls-Royce

Who’s Involved

Rolls-Royce will be working with APUS, an aviation engineering company based in Strausberg, close to Berlin, and the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU), Germany, in developing a hybrid electric flight demonstrator based on its hybrid M250 propulsion system. The project is being supported by the Brandenburg Government under the regional programme to develop research, innovation and technology (ProFIT), managed by the Investment Bank of the State of Brandenburg (ILB), and is scheduled for a duration of three years. The collaboration will enable one of the world’s most comprehensive hybrid aerospace turbine engine development and integration programs and pave the way for experimental flights on aircraft after 2021.

The Aircraft

This project will include an APUS i-5 plane to demonstrate the practical application of hybrid electric technology for a 4000kg conventional take-off and landing flight test vehicle. The system could be used across a range of transport platforms to enable distributed electric propulsion, including EVTOL’s (hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), general aviation aircraft and hybrid helicopters in the future.

The M250 Hybrid System

The traditional non-hybrid M250 gas turbine engine has powered more than 170 varieties of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, in both military and civilian service. Rolls-Royce selected this engine for hybridisation because of its maturity, power-density, ease of maintenance, and high reliability. The total M250-powered fleet has logged more than 250 million engine flight hours, with more than 33,000 engines delivered to the market.

Rolls-Royce M250 aircraft turboshaft engine
Rolls-Royce M250 turboshaft engine is part of the experimental hybrid-electric unit. Credit: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce engineers based in the United States, UK, Germany, Norway and Singapore developed the M250 engine into a hybrid-electric propulsion system.

The Rolls-Royce powered APUS i-5 demonstrator project just announced today integrates that new hybrid system using a M250 gas turbine engine with a high energy density battery system, electric generators, power converters and an advanced power management and control system. The power management system optimises overall propulsion performance in order for the system to be suitable across a variety of platforms, including EVTOL, while delivering efficiency gains, reduced noise and lower emissions.

Earlier this year hybrid version tests were successfully carried across three system configurations:

  • Series Hybrid: In this configuration, the engine operates as a turbo-generator that charges an on-board battery system, and does not contribute to thrust directly. All power required for thrust and other onboard systems is supplied by the battery.
  • Parallel Hybrid: In this configuration, the platform thrust is supplied by a combination of the engine (mechanical thrust) and the electrical system (electrical thrust), while the other power needs of the aircraft are met by the battery.
  • Turbo-Electric mode: In this configuration, the battery system is redundant. The engine operates as a pure turbo-generator supplying electric power for thrust and any other power needs on the aircraft.

The M250 hybrid power pack also complements the AE 2100 2.5MW system being developed for larger aircraft, including regional aviation, and is being tested with Airbus on the E-Fan-X demonstrator platform.

Rolls-Royce collaboration with the E-Fan X demonstrator aircraft
Rolls-Royce is working with Airbus on its E-Fan X project for a hybrid-electric airliner.

Funding

Funding for this hybrid electric flying project was requested within the framework of the ProFIT promotion guideline issued by the Brandenburg Ministry of Economics and Energy. The application was submitted in the typical two-stage process with the support of Wirtschaftsförderung WFBB and the Business Development Bank of the State of Brandenburg, ILB. The financial ProFIT support is provided by the State of Brandenburg from the European Regional Development Fund and federal and state funds. All project partners would particularly like to thank the ILB for the accompanying consultations and the European Regional Development Fund for the co-financing.

What Rolls-Royce Says

Dr. Dirk Geisinger, Director Business Aviation and Chairman Rolls-Royce Deutschland, said: “We thank the Brandenburg Government sincerely for its continued support and are delighted to be working with APUS and the Brandenburg University of Technology on this groundbreaking demonstrator program. This is an important step forward in developing propulsion systems that will enable a new class of quieter and cleaner air transport. At the same time this will further strengthen our Dahlewitz site, which is one of the hubs for the advancement of hybrid-electric propulsion in our company.”

Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical said: “We have already ground tested the hybrid version of the M250 gas turbine in a demonstration setting in Series Hybrid, Parallel Hybrid and Turbo-Electric operating modes. The M250 hybrid is planned to be used as a propulsion plant with power ranging from 500kW to 1MW and has the potential to transform aviation power. Rolls-Royce has pioneered every significant development of the aviation industry and it is only natural that we play our part in this exciting next step of electrification.”

What Brandenburg University of Technology Says

Prof. Dr. Georg Möhlenkamp, Chair for Power Electronics & Electrical Drive Systems, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg said: “We are very pleased to be a partner within this important project. Being responsible for electric hybrid system functional modelling, dynamic modelling of system performance and electro-mechanical system test support acknowledges our strong competencies in this field and represents a first visible step in our strategy to collaborate with Rolls-Royce on sustainable aircraft propulsion.”

What APUS Says

Phillip Scheffel, Chief Executive Officer, APUS aeronautical engineering GmbH, said: “As the supplier for the iron bird test airframe, installation hardware design and hybrid system installation partner, we are keen to take this project forward and to achieve experimental flight clearance together. Receiving funding from Brandenburg Government helps greatly to realise our exciting plans and enable significant learnings for a range of other electro hybrid aircraft systems.”

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Boeing takes a $20 Million liking to Virgin Galactic

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Virgin Galactic Test Flight

Virgin Galactic has already invested $1 billion of capital towards building reusable human spaceflight systems designed to enable more people to experience space. Boeing now wants a piece of the pie.

KEY POINTS

  • Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, is in the final stretch of testing, with CEO George Whitesides saying the company “still feels good about going into operation next year.”
  • Virgin Galactic is planning to list on the New York Stock Exchange later this year, through a merger announced in July with Social Capital Hedosophia.
  • When Virgin Galactic does go public, Boeing’s venture arm, HorizonX, will take a $20 million minority stake in the company.
  • Boeing and Virgin Galactic will work together to broaden commercial space access and transform global travel technologies.
White Knight Two carrier aircraft, VMS Eve on tarmac at Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic's Gateway to Space
White Knight Two carrier aircraft, VMS Eve on the tarmac at Spaceport America. Credit: Virgin Galactic

In July, Virgin Galactic announced its intent to become a publicly-listed entity via a business combination with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. (“SCH”) is a partnership between the investment firms of Social Capital and Hedosophia.

Boeing has just announced its commitment to spend $20 Million dollars to acquire a minority stake in Virgin Galactic once it has listed. This investment from Boeing brings together two companies with extensive experience in the space industry.

Virgin Galactic is a pioneer of commercial human space flight and is the first and only company to have put humans into space in a vehicle built for commercial service, having built and flown a Mach 3 passenger vehicle. Through its manufacturing and development capabilities, Virgin Galactic can design, build, test, and operate a fleet of advanced aerospace vehicles.

Boeing has unsurpassed experience transporting people to orbit and building and operating large structures in that challenging environment. A part of every U.S. manned space program, Boeing serves as NASA’s prime contractor for the International Space Station (ISS) and is preparing the new, reusable, Starliner space capsule for launch to the ISS.

Virgin Galactic Space Ship Two
Virgin Galactic is a pioneer of commercial human space flight. Credit: Virgin Galactic

What Boeing says

“Boeing’s strategic investment facilitates our effort to drive the commercialization of space and broaden consumer access to safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation,” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Our work with Virgin Galactic, and others, will help unlock the future of space travel and high-speed mobility.”

What Sir Richard Branson says

“This is the beginning of an important collaboration for the future of air and space travel, which are the natural next steps for our human spaceflight program,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic. “Virgin Galactic and Boeing share a vision of opening access to the world and space, to more people, in safe and environmentally responsible ways.”

What the Virgin Galactic CEO says

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, noted: “we are excited to partner with Boeing to develop something that can truly change how people move around the planet and connect with one another. As a Virgin company, our focus will be on a safe and unparalleled customer experience, with environmental responsibility to the fore.”

Boeing to invest in Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity soars into space. Credit: Virgin Galactic

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