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Challenger 601

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Challenger 601

"Canadair Challenger" redirects here. For other uses, see Bombardier Challenger (disambiguation).
Challenger 600/601/604/605
A Bombardier CL-604
Role Business jet
Manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace
First flight 8 November 1978
Status In production
Unit cost
Around US$25 million
Developed into CRJ-100/200

The Bombardier Challenger 600 series is a family of business jets. It was first produced by Canadair as an independent company and then produced from 1986 by Canadair as a division of Bombardier Aerospace.

Origins and Development

The origin of the Challenger 600 lies in Canadair’s purchase of a concept for a business jet aircraft, the LearStar 600 from the American inventor and aircraft developer Bill Lear. However, Lear had practically no influence on the ensuing development and design of the aircraft.[1][2] Even the name LearStar was not new to this concept, since Lear had long before used the name for his conversion of Lockheed Lodestars into business transports.[3] Thus, Canadair quickly abandoned the name LearStar and adopted the name Challenger.[4]

Canadair's top management was of the opinion that Lear’s concept was sketchy at best.[2] Lear did not have an expert grasp of aeronautical engineering.[5] He was also at financial low point, with a tiny staff. Thus, he had only been able to pay a California aeronautical consultant to do some very preliminary design explorations.[6]

However, Canadair planned to use Lear’s name and skills at self-promotion to secure extensive financial guarantees for a business jet project from the Canadian Federal government.[2] This proved an effective choice. In the 1980 The National Film Board of Canada documentary on the development of the aircraft,[7] future Prime Minister Jean Chretien specifically refers to the effect of personal contact with Lear (on Chretien’s decision to direct financial support to Canadair’s program).

At the time of these events, Chretien was successively President of the Treasury Board, Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, and Minister of Finance, in the Canadian Federal government. Due to the use of letters of comfort, the extent of the Ministry's financial commitments for Canadair could be kept from parliament and the public for several years.[8] These financial guarantees were later used as an academic example of insufficient monitoring and lax controls in government support of industry.[9]

While the Challenger would be similar in general configuration to other aircraft of its type already on the market, certain of its features would stand out. For example, the use of a widened fuselage that allowed a "walk-about cabin". The Challenger was also one of the first bizjets designed with a supercritical wing.

On 8 November 1978, the prototype aircraft took off at Montreal, Canada. The second and third prototypes flew in 1979. A test flight on 3 April 1980 in the Mojave Desert resulted in disaster, the aircraft crashing due to the failure of the release mechanism to detach the recovery chute after a deep stall, killing one of the test pilots (the other test pilot and the flight test engineer parachuted to safety).[10]

Despite the crash, both Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States certified the aircraft in 1980, albeit with restrictions to pilots including a limited maximum takeoff weight. A program to reduce the aircraft's weight was then implemented to improve the aircraft's range.

Challengers can be identified visually by their distinctive fowler flap design, where the fairings can be seen below the wings, a sight much more common on commercial airliners.

Variants


CL-600

CL-600
original production version, powered by Avco Lycoming ALF 502L turbofans of 7500 lbf (33.6 kN) thrust each. Built from 1978 to 1982 (81 built)
CL-600S
3 CL-600s retrofitted with the winglets introduced on the CL-601-1A.
Canadair CC-144
21 aircraft purchased by the Royal Canadian Air Force, including the CE-144 and CX-144
Canadair CE-144
Electronic warfare / EW trainers.
Canadair CX-144
The second prototype, a CL-600-1A11, c/n 1002, allocated to the RCAF after finishing its test programme. Used at the Aerospace Engineering and Test Establishment (AETE), CFB Cold Lake until retirement in 1993, now preserved at the National Air Force Museum of Canada.

CL-601

CL-601-1A
A refined version including winglets to decrease drag and more powerful General Electric CF34-1A (66 built, including four Canadian Forces CL-144/ CC-144B)[11]
CL-601-1A/ER
601-1A retrofitted with an additional fuel tank in the tail
CL-601-3A
GE CF34-3A engines with a higher flat rating and a glass cockpit. This was the first version marketed by Bombardier, indeed.
CL-601-3A/ER
601-3A with an additional, optional fuel tank in the tail
CL-601-3R
the tail tank was made standard, CF34-3A1 Engines were introduced.

CL-604

CL-604
A major upgrade of the 601 design, incorporating more advanced GE CF34-3B engines; increased fuel capacity, including saddle tanks in the rear of the aircraft; new undercarriage for a higher takeoff and landing weight; structural improvements to wings and tail; and a new Rockwell Collins ProLine 4 avionics system. The Bombardier C-143A is a single Challenger 604 aircraft, which was acquired by the United States Coast Guard in December 2005 as its new Medium Range Command and Control Aircraft (MRC2A).[12]
CL-604 MMA
(Multi-Mission Aircraft), militarized version, developed by Field Aviation,[13] in Danish service.[13] The aircraft are employed on maritime patrol and search and rescue missions.They are capable of landing on the short, rough, gravel airstrips common in the Arctic.[13]

CL-605

CL-605
introduced in early 2006 as an avionics and structural upgrade of the 604 design. Structural improvements include larger cabin windows. Cockpit instrumentation updated with the Collins Proline 21 avionics and "electronic flight bag" capability. It can be visually identified by a new, rounded tailcone.

CL-610

CL-610 Challenger E
Proposed as a stretched version for use as a cargo aircraft by Federal Express, or alternatively, as a passenger aircraft with seating for 24 passengers.[14] Federal Express placed orders for 25 CL-610s, but these orders were cancelled after the passage of air cargo deregulation in the U.S. in 1977.[15] Development was halted by Canadair in 1981 without any having been built. A few years later, a new project would develop the Canadair Regional Jet based on a stretched Challenger design.

Operators

Military operators


 Australia
 Canada
 China
 Croatia
 Czech Republic
 Denmark
 Germany
 South Korea
 United States

Civilian operators

 Canada
  • Air Tindi operates two CL-601s
  • Morningstar Partners Ltd.: Operates one CL605 as part of fractional fleet.
  • North Cariboo Air: Operates one CL601.
 Czech Republic
  • Government of the Czech Republic: Former operator
 Croatia
 Hong Kong
 Jordan
  • Government of Jordan
 Malaysia
  Switzerland
  • VistaJet Holding SA
  • Nomad Aviation
  • Rega air rescue, operates three CL6
 Qatar
 Turkmenistan

Specifications (CL-601-3A)

Data from [19]

General characteristics
  • Crew: Two (pilot & co-pilot)
  • Capacity: Up to 19 passengers, depending on configuration
  • Length: 20.85 m (68 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 19.61 m (64 ft 4 in)
  • Height: 6.30 m (20 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 48.3 m² (520 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 9,292 kg (20,485 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 19,618 kg (43,250 lb)
  • Useful load: 1,814 kg (4,000 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 19,550 kg (43,100 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × General Electric CF34-3A turbofans, 40.7 kN (9,140 lbf) each

Performance

See also

Aviation portal
Canada portal

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References

Notes

Bibliography

External links

  • Bombardier Challenger 605 Official website
  • Canadian Forces CC-144 Challenger website
  • Challenger 600 series on Smartcockpit.com
  • , a 1980 National Film Board of Canada documentary on the jet's development
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