The best way to experience a business jet’s capabilities is to spend some time not only flying it but also sitting in the cabin during a cross-country trip to get the full passenger flavor. A trip and demo flight in Bombardier’s best-selling Challenger 350 afforded an opportunity for both experiences, starting with a flight from Las Vegas to Hartford, Connecticut, followed by a local flight out of Bradley International Airport where Bombardier’s demo team is headquartered and also the site of one of Bombardier’s largest factory service centers.
The Challenger 350 started as the 300, first taking flight on Aug. 14, 2001 and entering service in January 2004. A clean-sheet design, the 300 extended Bombardier’s wide-cabin philosophy in a super-midsize design that could span the continental U.S. in one hop, and hence the model’s original name, Continental Business Jet. This was later changed to Challenger 300. The upgraded 350 entered service in mid-2014, and it has been selling well since, averaging 62 per year from 2015 through 2017, roughly twice as many as the Gulfstream G280 and about three times as many as the Embraer Legacy 450 and 500. The CL350 is popular with fleet operators, and the first one was delivered to NetJets. Through the first quarter of 2018, Bombardier delivered 12 CL350s.
With a 3,200-nm range, the CL350 is a step more capable than the CL300, thanks to modern avionics, more powerful engines, cabin improvements, slightly longer wingspan, and a higher maximum takeoff weight (mtow). The performance improvements come with no change in the maximum fuel capacity of 14,150 pounds. The CL350 with its greater 40,600-pound mtow is able to take full advantage of the airframe’s fuel capacity, while the CL300 was limited by its lower 38,850-pound mtow to less than max fuel in most cases.
Honeywell boosted the 6,826 pound thrust HTF7000-series engine on the CL300 to 7,323 pounds to create the CL350’s HTF7350, without changing the ISA +15 deg C flat-rating. New canted winglets extend the wingspan to 69 feet from just under 64 feet, increasing the wing’s aspect ratio by 6 percent and helping improve climb capability and high-altitude efficiency. The CL350 can climb directly to an initial altitude of FL430, 2,000 feet higher than the CL300.
While the cabin is the same size in both models, Bombardier designers have updated the CL350 interior, borrowing some elements from the cabins of the Global 6000 Premier design as well as the Challenger 650.
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