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. Even the name LearStar was not new to this concept, since Lear had long before used the name for his conversion of Lockheed Loadstars into business transports. Thus, Canadair quickly abandoned the name LearStar and adopted the name Challenger.
Canadair's top management was of the opinion that Lear’s concept was sketchy at best. Lear did not have an expert grasp of aeronautical engineering. 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.
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. This proved an effective choice. In the 1980 National Film Board documentary on the development of the aircraft, 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. These financial guarantees were later used as an academic example of insufficient monitoring and lax controls in government support of industry.
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).
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.
A Challenger 604 shortly before landing
A Challenger 604 from the RAAF
- 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. 21 aircraft purchased by the Royal Canadian Air Force, designated CC-144, CE-144, and CX-144.
- CL-601-1A: refined version including winglets to decrease drag and more powerful GE CF34-1A (66 built, including four Canadian Forces CL-144/ CC-144B)
- 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.
- 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: 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 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-604 Multi-Mission Aircraft: militarized version, developed by Field Aviation, in Danish service. 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.
- 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.
The CL-610 Challenger E was to have been a stretched version for use as a cargo aircraft by Federal Express, or alternatively, as a passenger aircraft with seating for 24 passengers. Federal Express placed orders for 25 CL-610s, but these orders were canceled after the passage of air cargo deregulation in the U.S. in 1977. 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 
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- United States
Civilian operators 
- Air Tindi operates two CL-601s
- Morningstar Partners Ltd.: Operates one CL605 as part of fractional fleet.
- Czech Republic
- Government of the Czech Republic: Former operator
- Hong Kong
Specifications (CL-601-3A) 
Data from 
- 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
- Maximum speed: 882 km/h (476 knots, 548 mph)
- Cruise speed: 851 km/h, (459 knots, 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)
See also 
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- ^ Rashke 1985, pp. 333–338.
- ^ a b c Pickler and Milberry 1995, p. 263.
- ^ Munson, Russell. "Boardroom Bombers: From Warpaint to Pinstripes." Flying, Volume 119, Isuue 9, September 1987, p. 96.
- ^ Rashke 1985, p. 339.
- ^ Logie 1992, p. 57.
- ^ Logie 1992, p. 55.
- ^ Low, Stephen. Challenger: An Industrial Romance (16 mm, 57 min 23, sound, colour film). Montreal: National Film Board of Canada, 1980.
- ^ Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1982, para. 10.95 to 10.100.
- ^ Borins, Stanford F. and Lee Brown. Investments in Failure. New York: Raven Press, 1987. ISBN 0-458-80340-5.
- ^ "The Crash of Challenger #1001." Check-Six.com. Retrieved: 19 September 2012.
- ^ Walker, R.R. "CC-144 Challenger detailed list." Canadian Military Aircraft Serial Numbers, Canadian Armed Forces, 2006. Retrieved: 19 September 2012.
- ^ Parsch, Andreas. "DOD 4120.15-L - Addendum." designation-systems.net, 2011. Retrieved: 19 September 2012.
- ^ a b c "Update: Denmark's Arctic Assets and Canada's Response — Danish Air Force Aircraft on a Mission over Canada's High Arctic." Canadian American Strategic Review,July 2009. Retrieved: 19 September 2012.
- ^ Logie 1992, pp. 55–57.
- ^ "Federal Express: the Memphis Connection." Flight International, 4 April 1981.
- ^ Picture of the Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 aircraft Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- ^ "Air Station Washington DC." USCG. Retrieved: 19 September 2012.
- ^ Lambert 1993, pp. 27–28.
- Lambert, Mark. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1993-94. Coulsdon, Surry, UK: Jane's Data Division, 1993. ISBN 0-7106-1066-1.
- Logie, Stuart. Winging it: The Making of Canadair's Challenger. Toronto, Ontario: Macmillan Canada. 1992. ISBN 0-77159-145-4.
- Pickler, Ron and Larry Milberry. Canadair: The First 50 Years. Toronto: CANAV Books, 1995. ISBN 0-921022-07-7.
- Rashke, Richard. Stormy Genius: The Life of Aviation's Maverick, Bill Lear. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1985. ISBN 0-395-35372-6.
External links