Bombardier Challenger 350

Bombardier Unveils Updated Challenger 350

Bombardier recently announced a suite of performance and cabin and cockpit enhancements for the Challenger 350, on track for implementation in the super-midsize jet this year.

The performance enhancements improve the CL350’s range when departing from short fields up to 1,500 nautical miles, achieved in part by better rudder authority and beefed-up braking action. That will enable the jet to operate from Santa Monica, California’s recently shortened runway (now 3,500 feet), for example, complementing its steep-approach certifications from the European Aviation Safety Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, and Transport Canada, which were received last year.

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We got one of the first looks at the world’s largest purpose-built business jet, which entered into service in December.

“When you engage this steep-approach procedure, you have to engage the inhibitor for the terrain awareness, to let the aircraft know you’re about to do a maneuver that’s a bit more steep than usual, but apart from that, there’s no physical change to the aircraft,” said Mathieu Noel, Bombardier Business Aircraft director of product strategy and design. “There are no air brakes or spoilers as some other aircraft had to use to get into that airport.”

In the cabin, improved acoustical insulation reduces the CL350’s already low sound level by 1 to 2 dB SIL, and as much as 4–5 dB SIL lower than previous CL300 models, making it quietest in class, according to Bombardier. “The insulation technology we use in the 350 has been completely rethought,” said Noel, adding, “We pay a lot of attention to local sources of noise.”

In the flight deck, a newly introduced lightweight head-up display (HUD) and enhanced vision system (EVS)—also available as retrofits for in-service models—allow pilots to look forward in all phases of flight. The three-sensor EVS is the most advanced system in the super-mid category, according to Bombardier, and has the ability to capture LED lights, which has been a challenge for traditional EVS systems.

Both cockpit and cabin incorporate improved ergonomic and aesthetic touches throughout.

The CL350—which Bombardier calls the world’s best-selling business jet based on total sales of 300-series jets over the past decade—is the only aircraft in category that can fly its full range (3,200 nautical miles, London–New York nonstop) with a full passenger load, even as it boasts the lowest operating cost in class, according to the company. Last year it was “the most-delivered aircraft in the market,” with 60 handed over, representing more than 50 percent of super-midsize purchases, said Noel. “It's gotten to a level of reliability and operating economics that is extremely valuable to a lot of customers.”

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