Canadair Challenger 601-3R
Bill Lear began the LearStar 600 project as an intercontinental corporate jet design. In 1976, Canadair Ltd. bought the rights to the design and continued to refine it into the Canadair Challenger 600. Although the new bizjet’s range came up shorter than as was expected, and the jet was heavier too, the prototype took to the skies for the first time in late 1978. The design had the widest cabin of any bizjet, and contained a new supercritical wing.
Unfortunately, during flight testing in early 1980, the prototype crashed due to a stall and a balky spin parachute. Transport Canada finally certified the jet’s design in August, 1980 with certain restrictions. The Challenger received its certification by the FAA – just two years after the prototype’s first flight, in late 1980 too.
Canadair CC-144A Challenger
The Challenger 600 was delivered between 1980 and 1983. Winglets were added to this and subsequent designs in 1982. Almost immediately after deliveries began, Canadair announced an improved CL-601 Challenger, equipped with General Electric CF-34 turbofans. Slightly less than 100 airframes of the CL-600 version were built, including 15 CC-144 and CE-144 airframes for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The Challenger 601 was produced in several variations, with varying fuel tanks and engine versions of the CF-34. The first flight of the CL-601 occurred in April, 1982, and the results garnered many orders of the newer design. In 1986, Canadair was bought by Bombardier after financial difficulties. Some sources state that the issues with the original CL-600 Challenger was partly to blame.
Bombardier CL-604 Challenger
Eventually, Bombardier expanded the line with the CL-604 version, which was launched in 1995. This has proven to be the largest seller of the Challenger line. Beginning in 1980 through the year 2000, some 500 airframes were ordered. From 2000 to 2015, 500 more were delivered.
Bombardier CL-605 Challenger
The Challenger 605 first flew in 2006. Equipped with a digital flight deck and larger cabin windows, some 200 airframes of the -605 series had been delivered by 2012.
The CL-650 was first flown in 2015. This is an improved CL-605 with slightly more power and a redesigned interior cabin, as well as modernized avionics.
Bombardier Challenger 300
Under Bombardier’s ownership, a new eight to nine passenger design was announced in 1999. The Bombardier Challenger 300 was a scaled down version of the CL-600 airframe. The first prototype of this series flew for the first time in 2001, and deliveries began in early 2004. More than 450 CL-300 Challengers have been delivered.
Bombardier Challenger 350
An upgraded version is the CL-350, which first flew in March of 2013. As of the year 2020, 350 Challenger 350s were delivered.
A newer design that adds automated cabin controls, among other features, is called the Challenger 3500. Announced in 2021, the new model will supersede the CL-350. The so-called super-midsized jet has just been introduced into service in September 2022.
Bombardier Global Express Jets
Bombardier Global Express
The Global Express BD-700 large business jet family was announced in 1991, and first flew a prototype in 1996. The first Global Express jets began operations in 1999. Using the same widebody fuselage cross section as the Challengers, a new wing and engines and a longer fuselage enabled intercontinental operations for up to 13 passengers. The Global Express and Global Express XRS were the original versions of the long-ranged, large jet transport.
Bombardier Global 6000
The first, improved version of the Global family is the Global 5000, with better economy. Another version of the Global family is the 6000, which can seat an additional three passengers in its almost 6-foot longer cabin.
Upgraded versions of these first pair of models are known today as the Global 5500 and 6500. More powerful engines are fitted to the latter jets, and they can cruise at slightly faster speeds.
Bombardier Global 7500
The Global 7500 is a larger development of the earlier 5500/6500 family. With a 2500 mile range improvement over earlier Globals, the 7500 is a true game changer, and has been marketed by Bombardier as “the world’s largest and longest range business jet”.
The newest in the Global line-up is the Global 8000. According to company literature, “The Global 8000 private jet is the flagship for a new era where the fastest speed, the longest range and the smoothest ride converge in a single business aircraft with proven reliability and the healthiest, best-connected cabin in the industry. “Get to your destination faster and save time with an unbeatable top speed of Mach 0.94—the fastest ever in business aviation. Fly farther than ever before with an industry-leading 8,000 nautical mile range and unrivalled short‑field performance in all-weather conditions.”
Several versions of Canadair’s CRJ-200 and CRJ-700 regional jets were offered as corporate shuttle jets too. The CRJ-850 is based on the CRJ-200, while the CRJ-870 is based upon the CRJ-700.
In 1990, Bombardier purchased the Learjet Corporation. Between 1990 and 2007, several versions were marketed and delivered, and in 2007, the latest Learjet, known as the Lear 85, was announced. After a long development period, the Lear 85 program was cancelled in 2015.
Bombardier Lear 45XR
On February 11, 2021, Bombardier announced the end on the Learjet line. Production would end a bit more than a year later, when the final Learjet was delivered on March 28, 2022 – a Lear 75 model.
Airbus A-220-300, formerly Bombardier’s C-Series CS-300
Before this closing of the Lear line, Bombardier had sold their CRJ regional jet business and its C-Series airliner line too. The company plans to keep their lines of Challenger and Global business jets as their main focus in the future.