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Challenger 604

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 prototype aircraft took off at Montreal, Canada. The second and third prototypes flew in 1979. 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).

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 take-off 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.

CL-604 - major upgrade of the 601 design, incorporating more powerful engines, larger fuel supply, 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 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 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.

Plane info

Cruise speed: 850 km/h

Total range: 7 458 km

Engines: 2 x General Electric CF-34-3Bs

Aircraft dimensions

Wingspan: 19.61 m

Length: 20.85 m

Height: 6.3 m 


Length: 8.66 m

Width: 2.5 m

Height: 1.86 m

Passengers: up to 12

Baggage capacity: 3.3 cubic m

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