$75 million business jet prototype passes through

HARLINGEN — We’re used to seeing rare birds here in the Rio Grande Valley.

But Wednesday’s flight into Valley International Airport was the kind of thing that seizes the imaginations of airplane folks.

The unpainted Bombardier Global 7500 which landed and refueled was a test model for the Canadian company’s newest, fastest and maybe most luxurious business jet.

“We got a call that they were coming and they just said it was a Bombardier Global and we see those from time to time, their current models,” said Pat Kornegay, president of Sun Valley Aviation Inc., which serviced the jet. “They tried an instrument approach and didn’t land and went around, and the weather was not bad, so I was wondering ‘what are they doing? Oh, they’re training.’”

Bombardier Inc. (pronounced bomb-bar-dee-A) is a multinational aerospace and transportation company based in Montreal. Many may recognize the company as being a pioneer in manufacturing snowmobiles, which is a pretty Canadian thing to build, all things considered.

But its primary business now is producing jets for regional airlines, business jets and mass transportation equipment as well as providing financial services.

“They’ve been making airplanes for a long time and they own several different airplane lines,” Kornegay said. “They own the Learjet and then they have their own Challenger line, which is part of the Global Express-type airplanes that they’ve got.”

He said the plane was on the ground for about 45 minutes, and then took off and headed back to Wichita, Kansas, where Bombardier has a flight test facility. The plane, which can fly at 700 mph and has a range of nearly 9,000 miles, probably made it back home in an hour and 20 minutes.

Kornegay did say the crew was nice enough to allow him to board the jet and look at the plane’s avionics, although the jet had none of its eventual luxury amenities, like the master bedroom, galley or dedicated crew suite.

So is he going to buy one of the $75 million jets when they become available?

“Uh, yeah,” Kornegay responded, and then added about 10 seconds of hearty laughter.

MORE INFO

Configure your very own Global 7500 here:

https://businessaircraft.bombardier.com/en/configurator#!/aircraft

Bombardier Global 7500

RANGE — Industry-leading 7,700 nautical miles (8,861 miles), enabling non-stop flight from Harlingen to Beijing

SPEED — Mach 0.925 (around 700 mph)

OPERATING ALTITUDE — 51,000 feet

PASSENGERS — 15 to 20

LIVING SPACES — Four

CABIN — Customizable floor plans include master bedroom, galley, master bath, dedicated crew suite

ESTIMATED COST — $75 million