2014-10-20 14:02 Bombardier unveils Challenger 650

At the eve of the 2014 NBAA convention in Orlando, FL, Bombardier has unveiled the latest member of the Challenger family of business aircraft, the Challenger 650.

In fact, the Challenger 650 is a heavily modernized version of the company’s Challenger 605, which has been on the market as a very popular player in the midsize segment for over four decades. Its range stays more or less the same, circling around 4,000 nm, and so does its passenger capacity, ranging between eight to 10 guests. This evolutionary pattern within the aircraft portfolio of the Canadian OEM can easily be found back with the Challenger 300 evolving into the Challenger 350.

What changes the Challenger 650 from the 605 is $500,000 in launch price, as it’s listed on $32.25 million. With this higher price tag, a lot of enhancements come along.Lufthansa Technik has been selected to provide the aircraft’s cabin management system. The company’s NICE inflight entertainment system is featured for the fifth time onboard a Bombardier business aircraft, as the Learjet 70Learjet 75Learjet 85 andChallenger 350 all are equipped with it. A standard NICE configuration features high definition monitors, 3D maps, AVOD, Bluetooth integration and media input capabilities, all remotely controllable by Apple or Android devices.

The aircraft’s performance has also been slightly increased, as enhanced GE CF34-3B MTO engines offer a 5% increase in thrust capacity, resulting in a shorter take-off distance. The Challenger 650 has also been equipped with the company’s Vision flight deck – also used on the Global 5000 and 6000 – which in practice consists of Rockwell Collins’s Pro Line Fusion avionics.

The aircraft’s launch customer has been known since NetJets placed its historic $9.6 billion order for up to 425 aircraft in June of 2012, among which were firm orders for 25 Challenger 605s – back then referred to as Challenger 605 NG – and options for 50. With deliveries scheduled to begin in 2015, the Challenger 605 NGs will actually be the first Signature Series Challenger 650s, which is why the Canadian OEM has brought a mock-up of its latest Challenger family member to the static display.

Bombardier Business Aircraft President Éric Martel referred to the Challenger 650 as a combined total of “the ultimate in-flight experience, a superior baseline offering and the lowest direct operating costs.”

“The proven reliability of the Challenger 605 series played a significant role in our decision to order Challenger 650 aircraft,” adds NetJets Senior Vice President of Global Asset Management Chuck Suma.

By Jason Zappa Janse

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