Bombardier Challenger 850: Buyer’s and Investor’s Guide
The Challenger 850 provides the cabin size of a large jet with the operating costs of a super-midsize jet.
Less capable than other super midsize aircraft, and as a model out of production, ageing Challenger 850s will cost more to maintain.
Based on the CRJ200 commercial jet, the two GE CF34-3B1 engines provide 8,729lbs of thrust each – allowing the aircraft to fly at a maximum cruise speed of 850kph (528mph). For long-range missions, the maximum speed reduces to 785kph (487mph).
One of the benefits of private jets is their ability to fly at higher altitudes, meaning they are able to fly over any bad weather and commercial traffic. As the Challenger 850 is based on a commercial aircraft, it only has a maximum altitude of 41,000ft. Whilst this shouldn’t be a deciding factor – other jets are able to fly at higher altitudes – benefitting flight efficiency as well as the owner’s wallet.
The CL850 has a maximum range of 2,811nm (5,206km), far enough to fly between London and Québec, Dubai and Bangkok as well as Beijing and Mumbai. This makes flights from the US west coast to Western Europe possible with one fuel stop.
Being based off a regional jet, the Challenger 850 has a larger cabin than most super-midsize jets. A cabin height of 6ft 1in and width of 8ft 2in allows plenty of space for passengers to travel in comfort (exactly the same cabin size as the Global 6000).
In an executive-seating configuration, the Challenger 850 can seat up to 15 passengers. Depending on the specific configuration, the cabin can feature a four-seat conference table, two 3-seat divans, sleeping positions for seven passengers, or a dining area.
Alternatively, the Challenger 850 can be hold up to 30 passengers in a corporate configuration.
Inside the cabin, passengers can enjoy music and movies through the digital cabin entertainment systems. Other features include touch screen controls, two lavatories, and phone and Internet connectivity.
With the first Challenger 850 being delivered in 1995, it is unsurprising that some aircraft have refurbished interiors. As such, pre-owned aircraft may have different designs and configurations compared to the OEM specification – something to be aware of if you are looking to buy a Challenger 850.
The Challenger 850 was produced between 1995 and 2012. 84 aircraft remain active, with 20.24% (17 aircraft) of the global fleet for sale (as of March 2018).
AMSTAT data shows the average asking price for a pre-owned CL850 is $7.2 million, with the oldest aircraft priced at $5.95 million. This represents good value for money, but older aircraft will require more costly maintenance checks and will likely need interior improvements.
Out of the global fleet, 25 aircraft are located in North America, 19 in Asia, 18 in Western Europe, 16 in Eastern Europe/West Asia and 6 in MEA.
The Challenger 850 will cost $2,579 per hour to run in variable costs – assuming fuel costs $4.17/gallon. As such, flying a typical 450 hours per year will equate to $1.16 million in variable costs.
Fixed costs are estimated to be $454,842 per year. This will include insurance, hangarage, maintenance tracking as well as crew training and salaries.
Where the Challenger 850 excels is that it combines the cabin of a large jet without the associated higher operating costs. If passengers do not need the additional range of a large jet such as the Falcon 7X or G650 but want a large cabin, the Challenger 850 is a good option.
Maximum range: 3234miles/5,206km/2,811nm
Maximum speed: 528mph/850kmh/Mach 0.68
Typical passengers: 9-20
Typical crew: 3
List price for new aircraft: N/A
Pre-owned price: $7.2 million