Bombardier launches Challenger 3500

Alasdair Whyte

Bombardier has today launched the Challenger 3500. The re-launch features a new cabin, lower cabin altitude, an environmental product declaration, as well as a few upgrades in the cockpit including an auto throttle system. The first one will be delivered to a customer in the second half of 2022.

“We are thrilled to launch a business jet that features all the best-selling elements of the Challenger platform – impressive performance, consistent reliability, exceptional smooth ride – while elevating the cabin experience for our customers,” said Éric Martel, president and chief executive, Bombardier. “Building on the success of the unrivalled Global 7500 business jet cabin, the Challenger 3500 aircraft prioritises what our customers value most: a truly exceptional cabin experience.”

The super-mid-size category is already the most competitive business jet category. Bombardier competes with Gulfstream’s G280, Embraer’s Praetor 600 and Textron Aviation’s Cessna Citation Longitude.

“The Challenger 350 already had the widest cabin, best wing in its class plus a flat floor and access to baggage when flying,” said Mathieu Noel,  director, Product Strategy, Industrial Design and Sales Engineering. “The Challenger 3500 elevates the experience even more.”

Bombardier created the category when it launched the Challenger 300 in 1999 at the Paris Airshow. Flexjet, then a Bombardier division, took the first delivery in 2004. It upgraded the aircraft as the Challenger 350 at EBACE in 2013. It has delivered more than 840 Challenger 300s and Challenger 350s making it the market leader. The aircraft’s core market is large US corporates – more than 60% of the Fortune 500 own at least one Challenger aircraft.

By calling it the Challenger 3500 (pronounced Thirty-Five-Hundred), Bombardier is linking the aircraft to its Global family.

“It is an all-new cabin with a premium timeless feel,” said Noel. “The cabin reflects that many customers use the aircraft for business.” Bombardier has adapted its Nuage seat range from the Global family to reflect business travellers. The seat allows users to tuck their feet under the seat when sitting at a desk, for example.

Bombardier has lowered the cabin altitude by more than 2,000ft. When the aircraft is flying at 41,000ft the cabin altitude is the equivalent of being at 4,850ft. This change means that it is not possible to upgrade Challenger 350s to become Challenger 3500s.

The cabin technology reflects how passengers now bring their own technology. The large 4K, 24-inch monitor is designed for screen sharing

Because it is a new model, Bombardier has been able to create an environmental product declaration for the aircraft. The company is also committed to flight testing being carbon neutral by using sustainable aviation fuel and carbon offsetting. Owners and operators will also be able to use a new Eco App enabling  them to optimise flight performance to lower fuel burn. The app will tell them what speed and altitude to fly routes depending on weather conditions.

“The cabin has been designed with sustainability in mind,” said Noel. “We have used a fantastic eucalyptus veneer which looks stunning but also has a lower carbon footprint and requires less water to grow. We also use upcycled wool and fabrics without lowering quality.”

The Challenger 3500 will also be the first business jet with voice commands. Passengers can activate cabin controls by saying things like: “Dim the lights.”  Although, as a Canadian aircraft, you may need to say “Please” first.

Above: Over the moon – the new Challenger 3500 is pictured near Grenoble, France.

Below: The 3500 cabin features the Nuage seat and can respond to voice commands.

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