Amira Air Pride In First Global Vision
Charter provider Amira Air of Vienna, Austria, became the first operator of Bombardier’s new Global Vision flight deck. The cockpit is installed on a Global 5000 owned by Nikki Lauda, three-time Formula One world champion, airline owner and pilot. The legendary racing driver has been using the airplane to travel among F1 races and to other destinations, since receiving the airplane in April. AIN talked with one of the aircraft’s pilots, Martin Gubza, to find out his impression after the first six months of operations.
“The flight deck was developed jointly by Bombardier with Rockwell Collins and has synthetic vision on the HUD, which enhances comfort and safety and reduces pilot fatigue,” Gubza said. The Pro Line Fusion-based avionics suite has four high-resolution, 15-inch active-matrix LCDs arranged in a T-shape. According to Gubza, the most notable advance is the single, pilot-side head-up display (HUD), which reflects almost exactly what is shown on the primary flight display (PFD), so no adjustment is needed when looking from one to another. “It makes life much easier than on the previous model,” he said, “especially situational awareness with respect to obstacles, mountains and everything.” He admitted that it is a “high workload initially until you are used to it, but we had good training in Montreal, in [Bombardier’s] simulator.”
The real advantage, being able to use reduced visual minimums for instrument approaches by employing the infrared enhanced-vision system (EVS), has yet to be fully exploited by this aircraft. “We still don’t have the EVS camera approved,” Gubza said. “It will be in the software upgrade and should be sorted next year.” However, “the aircraft is Cat II approved now,” he said, “so EVS won’t help us much here [in Vienna],” but he added that it would help when Amira goes to airports without that level of ILS, or any ILS at all. Then it will be able to land “when other people can’t.”
When AIN spoke with Gubza, he said, “We have just come back from flying Singapore to Vienna. I think it was the longest flight since delivery, with Nikki Lauda.” In Singapore they landed at Seletar Airport, “a small executive airfield that has no approach aids; it is purely VFR,” he said. If there had been poor visibility, the synthetic vision on the HUD would have proved useful.
This Global 5000 is also available for charter through Amira Air, said Gubza, who added that the company also operates a second Global Express, six Challenger 300s, a Challenger 604, a Hawker 400XP and a Cessna CJ2+. Amira Air is considering adding more aircraft, and Gubza believes that “the charter market is surviving. Big-size aircraft are doing really well.” He talked about the 180-minute extended-range twin operations allowance on the Globals. “So far we haven’t seen a place you can’t cover,” he said. “We can fly to all our main hubs.”
The Global 5000 has a range of almost 5,200 nm at Mach 0.85, and can fly nonstop from Vienna to Tokyo, he said. The cabin can accommodate 12: four single seats in the front cabin that can recline and create two single beds; four club seats in the middle with a table; and a sofa in the separate rear cabin, which can convert into a bed or two single seats. The cabin is also equipped with WiFi, satellite TV with two screens, Blu-ray player and iPod/iPad docking stations.