- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Bombardier Challenger
CL-600 / CL-601 / CL-604 / CL-605
Bombardier Challenger 601-3R - N54VS - Business Jet Airplane - Corporate Aircraft - CL-600-2B16
1995 Bombardier Challenger 601-3R
N54VS (sn 5189)
Picture taken June 22, 2008
Calgary, AB Canada (YYC / CYYC)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
Bombardier Challenger 604 - Canadair CL-600-2B16 - C-FSJR - Business Jet - Corporate Jet Aircraft
Bombardier Challenger 604
C-FSJR (sn 5413)
Photo taken April 07, 2009
Calgary, AB Canada (YYC / CYYC)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Bombardier Challenger 600 series is a family of business jets designed by Bill Lear and produced first by Canadair until that company was bought by Bombardier Aerospace in 1986.


The aircraft was an independent design by Bill Lear in 1976, who had resigned as Chairman of Lear Jet seven years previously. Originally dubbed the LearStar 600, Lear sold exclusive rights to produce and develop the design to Canadair, who renamed it the CL-600 Challenger.

While similar in general configuration to Lear's previous designs, notable changes were made that distinguished the new aircraft from the Learjets, including the use of a widened fuselage that allowed a 'walk-about cabin', a feature not shared by any other business aircraft of the time. The Challenger was also one of the first bizjets designed with a supercritical wing.

On 8 November 1978, the first prototype of the aircraft took off for the first time in Montreal, Canada. An 3 April 1980 test flight in the Mojave Desert resulted in disaster, the aircraft crashing due to a deep stall, killing one of the test pilots (the other parachuted to safety). The second and third prototypes flew in 1979.

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


CL-600 - original production version, powered by Avco Lycoming ALF 502L turbofans of 7,500 lbf (33.6 kN) thrust each. Built until 1983 (83 built)

CL-600S - 76 CL-600s retrofitted with the winglets introduced on the CL-601-1A. 12 aircraft purchased by Canadian Forces Air Command for use in a variety of roles as the CC-144, CE-144, and CX-144.

CL-601-1A - refined version including winglets to reduce drag and more powerful General Electric CF-34 engines. (66 built, including 4 CL-144s)

CL-601-1A/ER - 601-1A retrofitted with an additional fuel tank in the tail

CL-601-3A - engine with a higher flat rating and a glass cockpit. This was the first version marketed by Bombardier.

CL-601-3A/ER - 601-3A with an additional, optional fuel tank in the tail

CL-601-3R - the tail tank was made standard, and airline style 'unsided' engines (no left or right) were used, matching what was used on the CRJ.

CL-604 - major upgrade of the 601 design, incorporating more powerful engines, larger fuel supply, including saddle tanks in the rear of the aircraft, completely new undercarriage for as higher takeoff and landing weight, structural improvements to wings and tail, and a new Collins ProLine 21 avionics system. The 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).

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 new avionics displays and "electronic flight bag" capability. It can be visually identified by a new, rounded tailcone.

CL-610 Challenger E was to have been a stretched version with seating for 24 passengers. 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.


Military operators
Argentine Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
No. 34 Squadron RAAF
Canadian Forces
People's Liberation Army Air Force
Croatian Government (Government Agency/ex military unit)
Czech Republic
Czech Air Force
Royal Danish Air Force
United States
United States Air Force
United States Coast Guard

Specifications (CL-601-3A)

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)
Max takeoff weight: 19,550 kg (43,100 lb)
Powerplant: 2× General Electric CF34-3A turbofans, 40.7 kN (9,140 lbf) each

Maximum speed: Mach .84 (851 km/h, 529 mph)
Range: 6,236 km (3,366 nm, 3,875 mi)
Service ceiling: 12,500 m (41,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 1,355 m/min (4,450 ft/min)

Last updated April 12, 2009
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bombardier Challenger 600".
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