Request A Quote

Maintaining Long Range Jets: Gulfstream V vs Global Express

Addressing common long-range jet maintenance challenges at home and abroad

A Gulfstream V is cruising along in the smooth air at 45,000 feet enroute to Milan from New York. Suddenly, 200 miles off the coast of Ireland, the flight crew receives a CAS message. The message indicates an air conditioning pack overheat condition. The flight crew follows the QRH procedure but are unsuccessful in remedying the situation. They elect to divert the flight to a safe landing at Shannon Airport, Ireland.

What you just read is only one example of the many possible situations which could render a long-range jet AOG indefinitely in a foreign country.

Gulfstreams and Globals are in a class of their own when it comes to extended range. This creates maintenance logistics challenges that are also in a unique class.

The maintenance of long-range jets requires careful planning for the unexpected. Moreover, the maintenance of long-range jets requires one to establish relations and strategic partnerships with a worldwide network of contract maintenance providers.

Now, let’s address some of the long-range jet maintenance challenges at a high level and learn about a few differences between two of the most popular long-range jets on the market: the Gulfstream V and Global Express.

Long Range Jet Challenges

Depending on the size and budget of any given maintenance team, long range jets pose varying degrees of challenges. If an aircraft is flying more than 500 hours every year on a charter certificate, the chances of an AOG situation abroad increases significantly.

Aircraft maintenance teams with large financial overhead and full-time logistics support are well-suited to respond in a timely manner to these types of situations. Smaller, self-supporting maintenance teams often find ways to adapt and plan for these unforeseen circumstances. It is worth noting that long-range jets flown for hire require the same maintenance attention and inspection intervals as their midsize counterparts.

The disparity between long and mid-range aircraft maintenance really comes down to the likelihood of a mechanical breakdown. Consider a scenario 4,000 miles from home versus 1,000 miles. For long-range jets traveling to destinations where contract maintenance does not exist, it can be advantageous to have a trained mechanic as part of the flight crew.

This is not always a viable solution especially for smaller teams. The best contingency plans for small, in-house maintenance teams involve diversion considerations. These teams must also plan for recovery of an AOG in locations without maintenance support.

N-registered aircraft recovery abroad typically involves:

  • A maintenance ferry permit from the FSDO with jurisdiction over the aircraft operator
  • Associated overflight permits for the proposed routing.

The bottom line is universal for any team responsible for maintaining long-range jets. Documented and actionable plans must be in place to reduce AOG time abroad.

Gulfstream V vs Global Express

More variants. That is what Bombardier’s Global Express offers that Gulfstream Aerospace’s V does not. The only real “variant” offered for the Gulfstream V is the G550, which includes advanced avionics and roughly 200 extra miles of range.

Aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians working on a Global Express need to be ready for the challenges associated with avionics differences and other small nuances associated with each variant. Gulfstream V avionics suites are more limited and range from the original Honeywell SPZ8500, with CRT display units, to the Honeywell Primus Elite, with LCD display units and Plane Deck software. The advantage of the Gulfstream V limited variability in avionics components is the capacity to find replacement parts when they are needed.

With greater variability of avionics components, one needs to consider the additional challenge of sourcing the correct replacement parts. With long-range jets, maintenance in distant countries is challenging enough to organize and accomplish in a timely manner even when parts are easy to source.

An important note is that both the Gulfstream V and Bombardier Global are both well-supported worldwide. The advantages and disadvantages come down to the specifics of each operation and how suited one is to handle increased complexity inherent in Global variants.

Long-Range Jet Aircraft Maintenance

Count on GMX to service your long-range jet. For both AOG support and on-going jet maintenance, the GMX aviation professionals will keep your aircraft online.

Contact us today to discuss your fleet.