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By Ivan Veretennikov
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Bombardier Challenger 350
Beyond Middle Class
An update of the extremely popular Challenger 300 business jet was highly anticipated, and it comes at the right time. Just as competition seems to have finally caught up on the successes of the original, the new Challenger 350 brings new rules to the game its predecessor once started. Once again, Bombardier has everything it takes to keep the super-midsize throne to itself.
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The Cabin Management System was made just for the 350 with all controls available via touch screen for every seat
Letâ€™s start from the outside. The Challenger 350 will retain the dimensions and ramp appeal of the 300, but will noticeably grow in wingspan: by almost 3 metres. This is due to a longer and stronger wing with new canted winglets. It gives the aircraft a higher max takeoff weight and allows more fuel to be loaded, bringing the flight range of the Challenger 350 to 5930 km with 8 passengers, or a whole 250 km better than that of the Challenger 300. This is enough to reach Moscow and London from Dubai, fly coast to coast in the US, or reach Paris out of New York.
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Step back through the galley and into the cabin and see why the Challenger series has been the undisputed leader in the super-midsize class
One huge and noticeable change over the 300 are the windows which are 6.5cm taller guaranteeing great views and loads of natural light.
Another important upgrade helping boost flight range and especially takeoff performance (the 350 rockets from zero to an altitude of 13100 metres in under 22 minutes!) are the Honeywell HTF7350 engines that offer a 7% thrust increase and feature the latest systems designed to lower fuel consumption and reduce emissions. Apart from that (and the number “350” painted on the side as opposed to “300”), it would be hard to tell the aircraft apart. Coming in, turn left and the change will be much more apparent. The new Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 Advanced
avionics suite features the Synthetic Vision System (SVS), Future Air Navigation System (FANS 1/A), and more safety systems, as well as some additional technology to prepare the aircraft for operations under future regulations. Another innovation is the MultiScan Threat Detection System. According to Rockwell Collins, “it provides “hands-free”, automatic weather and turbulence identification that enhances both safety and ride quality while significantly reducing pilot workload.” The cockpit is seldom a place where owners spend most of their flight time, however. Step back through the galley and
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into the cabin, and see why this Challenger series has been the undisputed leader in the super-midsize class, with over 400 units delivered worldwide. The cross-section is the same, 2.18 x 1.85 metres. The floor is flat, creating a true large-cabin experience, and the newly-designed seats move around easily to ensure everybody on board has their own personal space. What’s more, they recline into a fully flat position for comfortable sleeping. The first big – and unexpected – difference is in the windows. They’re almost 6.5 cm taller, which is a great deal: much more natural light will be available in flight, and good views are guaranteed from each seat. Another difference (this one anticipated) is the cabin management system. The Challenger 350 is equipped with the LHT nice HD Cabin Management System. It was customized specifically for this aircraft, with all controls conveniently available via touch screens at every seat. The two 22” HD bulkhead monitors will entertain flyers when they want to relax, while the Iridium satellite phones, Wi-Fi Internet access, USB ports, and power sockets will ensure that business gets done as well. HD films can be streamed direct to tablet computers or onto the bulkhead screens from a large onboard storage that will be easily kept up-todate, taking in-flight entertainment to a new level.
The order books for the Challenger 350 is filling fast with 200 to NetJets and another 40 to VistaJet
‘The floor is flat, creating a true large-cabin experience and the newly-designed seats move around easily to ensure everybody on board has their own personal space’
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An extra three metres in wingspan allows more fuel on board which gives the Challenger 350 and additional 250km range over the 300, enough to make it a non-stop contender from coast to coast in the US.
So, how does the Challenger 350 fly? Nothing is better than a first-hand account. John Travolta, Bombardier’s brand ambassador whom we interviewed at EBACE, had already given it a go in the pilot seat before the exhibition. He confirmed that it is an extremely pilot-friendly aircraft. It takes only a short time to start and fly, and situational awareness is extraordinary. But most importantly, he said: “At the end of the day I’m most impressed that you can fly this fast, this far... for this amount of money? I don’t think that any plane can compete with the Challenger grouping, because it’s so efficient. In today’s economy you have to look at what you’re spending.” The Challenger 300 was (and still is, as it will be in production alongside the new 350) a class-defining aircraft. Its unique mix of elegance, cabin size, performance, and reliability paved its way to stardom. The new Challenger 350 takes the best, and adds some modern touches, which guarantee that
it will remain attractive in the years to come. First deliveries should start in 2014, but judging by the orders (200 from NetJets and 40 from VistaJet, to mention only the loud ones) the queue is already quite long. Small wonder: a great plane made even better is bound to be in the wish list. My bet is that we’ll see the actual machine at NBAA in Las Vegas late October, and perhaps at Dubai Airshow later on in the year. This is definitely an aircraft not to miss on the static display, although you’d have to look for the “350” painted on the side. With all the beauty that awaits within, it’s quite hard to distinguish it from the outside. So is it just an upgrade of the 300? Not really. A completely new model? Not quite. The Challenger 350 is just the right mix of proven and innovative that will see Bombardier take another step forward in the super-midsize class just as the competition had caught up with the successes of the Challenger 300. Good move. ■