The Bombardier Challenger 350 is a super mid-sized business jet made by Canadian aerospace manufacturer Bombardier and is the smallest aircraft in the Challenger line-up. The Challenger 350 is the successor to the original Challenger 300 and first flew on March 2nd, 2013.
But what is a super mid-sized jet? These aircraft transport up to 10 passengers, cruise around Mach 0.70, and, on average, have a range of about 3,000 nm (5,556 km), which is 500 nm (926 km) more than a mid-size jet. This range makes them capable of transcontinental travel allowing cross-country flights such as Boston to San Franciso with ease.
The CL300 was an immensely successful aircraft. But, unfortunately, Bombardier stuck to the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage and made no drastic changes to the CL350. Instead, they listened to the criticisms customers, and industry pundits had about the CL300 and addressed them.
Bombardier also made the standard generational improvements, replaced older technology, incorporated newer flight systems, and made the cabin more luxurious for passengers. In addition, Bombardier changed the wings to reduce induced drag and increase fuel capacity, which allowed the CL350 to fly further than the original.
The resultant aircraft has won the Robb Report award for best super mid-size jet for both 2018 and 2019, which is no easy feat considering the competition. However, the combination of performance, features, and low operating costs make the CL350 the best aircraft in its class.
The CL350 is number one in deliveries in its class and reached 300 deliveries in record time. The high sales numbers are because the CL350 has the cheapest operating cost of any super mid-size jet, which has made it popular among charter operators such as Flexjet, NetJets, VistaJet & XOJET.
Bombardier will soon phase the Challenger 350 out of production, allowing its successor, the CL3500, to take its place. Still, it will continue to grace the skies with its presence for the foreseeable future.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Specifications
|Length||68 ft 8 in (20.9 m)|
|Height||20 ft 0 in (6.1 m)|
|Wingspan||69 ft 0 in (21 m)|
|Wing Area||523 ft² (48.5 m²)|
|Length||25 ft 2 in (7.68 m)|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Width||7 ft 2 in (2.19 m)|
|Baggage Space||106 ft³ (3.00 m³)|
|Cabin Volume||860 ft³ (24.35 m³)|
|Maximum Ramp Weight||40,750 lbs (18,484 kg)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||40,600 lbs (18,416 kg)|
|Maximum Landing Weight||34,150 lbs (15,490 kg)|
|Maximum Zero Fuel Weight||28,200 lbs (12,791 kg)|
|Basic Operating Weight||24,800 lbs (11,249 kg)|
|Maximum Fuel Weight||14,150 lbs (6,418 kg)|
|Maximum Payload||3,400 lbs (1,542 kg)|
|Maximum Payload with Full Fuel||1,800 (816 kg)|
|Maximum Range**||3,200 nmi (5,926 km)|
|Maximum Operating Mach||Mach 0.83|
|High-Speed Cruise||Mach 0.82|
|Typical Cruise Speed||Mach 0.80|
|Takeoff Distance (MTOW)*||4,835 ft (1,474 m)|
|Landing Distance (MLW)*||2,364 ft (721 m)|
|Service Ceiling||45,000 ft (13,716 m)|
|Initial Cruise (MTOW)||43,000 ft (13,106 m)|
|Rated Takeoff Thrust (each)*||7,323 lbf (33 kN)|
|Fuel Burn||330 GPH (1,249 l)|
|Wing Loading||77.6 lb/ft² (379.7 kg/m²)|
|Wake Turbulence Category||M|
|Flight Crew||2 – 3|
|Flight Deck||Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 Advanced|
|Flight Aids||Synthetic Vision
Heads-up Display with Enhanced Vision System
|Navigation||Dual Inertial Reference System
Wide Area Augmentation System GPS
Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance
|Weather Radar||Bombardier MultiScan™|
|Connectivity||Ka-band and 4G Air to Ground Internet|
|Engine(s) x 2||Honeywell HTF7350|
|Auxiliary Power Unit||Honeywell GTCP 36-150|
*Flat rated at international standard atmosphere (ISA) and sea level (SL).
** Range with NBAA IFR reserves at ISA, M0.80 cruise, eight passengers, and two crew.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Performance and Handling
The Challenger 350 is one of the best-performing business jets in the super mid-size class. One of the most impressive features of the aircraft is its ability to go from a completely dark cockpit (shutdown) to taxi-ready in less than seven minutes, with checklists and flows all streamlined to ensure that pilots only need to deal with the essentials.
The CL350’s runway performance is it only takes 4,835 ft (1,474 m) to get airborne and 2,364 ft (721 m) in standard conditions and at sea level. However, the CL350’s hot and high takeoff performance is brilliant, allowing it to take off from demanding airports like Switzerland’s Gstaad Airport, considered one of the most challenging airports to land at.
The CL350 is fitted with flexible wings, dampening the cabin’s turbulence. In addition, the CL350’s flexible wings and fly-by-wire controls ensure that the aircraft does what the pilots want when they want it while ensuring that passengers are always comfortable, even in harsh conditions.
The fly-by-wire controls also maintain the same control feel throughout the flight envelope and make the CL350 behave the same even when the configuration is changed from clean to dirty, allowing pilots to fly the plane with precision, increasing the smoothness of the flight, especially during transitions.
The Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 Advanced is a top-notch system that offers pilots everything they need. Bombardier offers both Heads-up Displays (HUD), and Enhanced Synthetic Vision (EVS) means that all the pertinent information is right in front of them, reducing workload and allowing approaches and flight in conditions otherwise impossible.
The CL350’s two Honeywell HTF7350 engines produce 14,646 lbs total, giving it an initial cruise altitude of 43,000 ft (13,106 m) at maximum takeoff weight and a service ceiling of 45,000 ft (13,716 m).
The CL350 has a maximum operating Mach of 0.83 and a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82. When configured for maximum range, the CL350 can fly for 3,200 nmi (5,926 km) with four passengers while maintaining regulatory IFR reserves before refueling.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Cabin and Configuration
The CL350’s cabin is based on the Global 7500, Bombardier’s flagship business jet. As a result, the CL350’s cabin might not have secured its successor’s awards, but it set the foundation for the CL3500 to win.
The CL350 has the biggest cabin in its class, measuring 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) high and 7 ft 2 in (2.19 m) wide. It allows most passengers to stand completely upright, and the flat floor will enable passengers to move around safely.
The total volume is 860 ft³ (24.35 m³), with a 106 ft³ (3.00 m³) inflight accessible baggage space aft of the main living areas. In addition, according to Bombardier, the CL350 has the quietest cabin in its class.
The CL350 can seat nine passengers in its executive configuration and ten in its globetrotter configuration. The executive configuration features four pairs of club seats, while the Globetrotter configuration has three pairs of club seats and replaces one pair with a three-seat divan.
All of the seats, including the divan, are fully breathable for when passengers want to sleep or nap. For both configurations, the last seat is the belted lavatory seat, which isn’t as luxurious but gets the job done.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Maintenance Schedule
Maintenance is performed based on two metrics: periodic and usage inspections.
For the Challenger 350’s airframe, periodic checks occur at 12, 48, 36, 48, 96, and 144 months (1, 2, 3, 4, 8, and 12 years). The life extension inspection occurs after 144 months and is possibly the most costly because it’s the most extensive. Every nut and bolt must be checked to ensure the airframe has more life.
Bombardier has designed the maintenance program of the CL350 to match the maintenance program of the Honeywell HTF7350 engine to reduce downtime. As a result, the usage inspections occur at 200, 400, 600, 1200, 3000, 4200, and 8000 hours.
In addition, the company released service bulletins that increased inspection intervals from 4200 and 8000 to 4800 and 9600, respectively.
If a periodic and hourly inspection (i.e., 600-hour and 48-month) coincide, the periodic inspection will supersede the hourly inspection.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Price
One of the many reasons the Bombardier Challenger 350 is successful is its price. The plane offers a lot of “bang for your buck” and starts at $26.7 million. However, the price will increase quickly as more changes and options are added, such as avionics or cabin upgrades.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Operation Costs
The Bombardier CL350 has the lowest operating cost of any aircraft in the super mid-size class, which is one of the main reasons that it’s the preferred jet of many charter operators, such as Net Jets.
Two types of operating costs are associated with owning an aircraft: fixed cost and variable cost.
The total annual cost of owning a Bombardier Challenger 350 that flies 200 hours per year is $1,083,427, according to Compare Private Planes.com.
Fixed Costs are independent of the aircraft’s usage and are charged per annum. The major fixed costs are hiring and retaining a crew and managing the aircraft. The total fixed cost per annum for a CL350 is estimated to be $556,843.
|Fixed Cost||Annual Expenditure ($)|
Finding an experienced flight crew is of utmost importance to any flight operation. The CL350 requires a minimum crew of three, two pilots, and one flight attendant.
More flight hours usually translate to pilots making smarter decisions and having better aircraft control. In addition, flight attendants with more experience can better serve passengers and control the cabin in an emergency.
Decision-making is important in business aviation because pilots can face external or internal pressure to fly in risky conditions, such as landing in hazardous weather to reach the destination airport. Experienced PICs are less likely to make risky choices and fly safely.
Being able to control the aircraft well is also something that pilots learn with time. The more control a pilot has over the aircraft, the smoother the journey for the passengers. More importantly, if an emergency occurs, a pilot who has mastery over the aircraft is more likely to land the aircraft safely.
However, experienced crews are not cheap, so the crew’s salary is the most expensive fixed cost at $307,680 per annum.
Crew Training Costs
Throughout the year, a flight crew will have to undergo training to maintain currency, ratings, and proficiency. A well-trained crew is better equipped to handle any difficulties they face while flying and will maintain high operating standards compared to a crew that hasn’t had the same training.
Owners opt to store their private jets in hangars to protect an aircraft from the elements and potential accidents and maintain the plane’s value. However, renting hangar space isn’t cheap.
Hangar space is charged based on the aircraft’s gross weight or the overall space the aircraft occupies. Sometimes, a combination of the two is used to calculate the fee. So the larger and heavier the plane, the higher the hangar fees.
However, hangar fees also depend on the airport’s location and congestion. For example, suppose an aircraft needs to be stored at Los Angeles International airport (KLAX). The hangar fees will be exorbitant compared to an airplane stored at Grand Forks International airport (KGFK).
The average cost per annum for renting hangar space for a CL350 is $53,678.
Jet Management Costs
A jet management service is essential for efficiently operating a private jet. Especially if an owner is planning to use it for charter operations, a typical jet management service will carry out any tasks needed to keep the aircraft operating smoothly.
These services also source customers and manage the day-to-day operations, including collecting fees and payments for a small portion of the profits or higher fees.
One of the most basic services of a jet management service is to have the aircraft prepped and ready to fly. This includes planning the flight route, filing the flight plan, stocking the plane with food and drink, etc.
It will also organize hangars for storage and source suppliers for refueling at the destination airport. Most management services have affiliates that provide a discount on these services, which saves the operator money in the long run.
A jet management service will also take care of aircraft maintenance. Most management services are affiliated with service providers and offer discounts on maintenance, and some even have their own maintenance departments.
They will ensure that the aircraft is always airworthy and organize maintenance in the most efficient way possible to minimize downtime and maximize profits.
Finding an experienced and trustworthy flight crew to operate an airplane is one of the toughest tasks for any operator. A jet management service will find a crew for an operator, vet them and ensure they have the necessary ratings, licenses, and experience.
In addition, they will also ensure that crew training is managed so that the flight crew is always current and ready to fly when required.
These services will also set up the aircraft for use. This can include registering the aircraft, sourcing an insurance policy that meets the owner’s requirements, and other odds and ends.
The average cost for a typical jet management service managing a Challenger 350 is $78,000 per annum.
Most owners opt to have two main types of insurance for their aircraft: liability insurance and hull insurance.
Liability insurance offers coverage for injury, damage, and loss caused by the operation of the aircraft to third parties. The third parties can include passengers, cargo, baggage, and persons on the ground.
Coverage for persons within the operation isn’t included, but it depends on the policy. Liability insurance is required by law, and aircraft without insurance coverage are considered unairworthy.
Hull insurance covers damage and loss of the aircraft. If the damage is minor, the policy will pay for the repairs. However, if the damage is substantial and the plane has to be written off, then the owner will be compensated. The policy’s amount will depend on a predetermined aircraft valuation, not the market value.
The two types of insurance mentioned above are the most basic. But some owners go the extra mile and add more types of insurance to build a comprehensive policy that protects the plane from all types of damage.
Most charter operators choose to have crew insurance in their policy. Crew insurance acts similarly to the employee benefits package. It provides coverage for injuries, loss of license, travel insurance, and repatriation of remains.
Finally, we have aviation hull war insurance, usually added to the aircraft operating high-risk routes policy. Hull war insurance covers the loss of the plane due to hijacking, malicious damage, war, and other damage done by third parties to the aircraft.
The average insurance cost per annum for a Challenger 350 is $25,999.
Miscellaneous Fixed Costs
These unplanned costs can occur over the year that doesn’t change with aircraft usage. It’s estimated that the typical miscellaneous fixed cost for a CL350 is $24,931 per annum.
Variable costs vary with the usage of the aircraft. The more hours the aircraft flies, the higher the cost. The largest cost associated with flying a plane is fuel, a close second being maintenance costs. The total variable cost for a CL350 that flies 200 hours per annum is $526,584, with the hourly cost coming to $2,633.
|Variable Cost||Annual Expenditure ($)|
|Crew, Airport, and Handling Fees||67,127|
Fuel is the single largest variable cost associated with the operation of a powered aircraft.
The CL350 burns an average of 330 gallons (1,249 l) per hour. This number is a rough estimate and changes depending on the pressure, temperature, operating altitude, speed, and gross weight.
But fuel cost also changes based on where the aircraft is refueled. For example, in oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia, fuel is significantly cheaper than it would be in the UK because of the ongoing energy crisis.
The current hourly fuel cost for a CL350 is $1,320, which brings the annual fuel cost at 200 hours to $264,000.
Maintenance and Engine Overhaul
Maintenance has to be performed for the aircraft to be airworthy and legally compliant. Performing maintenance at the required intervals also prolongs the life of the aircraft and its components and ensures its safe operation. Poorly maintained aircraft are more likely to have failures and accidents.
The maintenance costs for the airframe and engine are calculated separately. However, Bombardier has scheduled the airframe inspections at the same intervals as the engine inspections, which allows them to be performed together, saving time and money.
The total maintenance cost for a CL350 flying 200 hours a year is $185,457, which makes it the second-highest variable cost on the list.
Airport, Navigation, and Crew Costs
Landing and navigation fees are charged whenever an aircraft lands at an airport. These fees are used for the upkeep of the runways and equipment. Landing and navigation fees are charged based on a flat rate plus the aircraft’s weight.
For example, an airport will charge a $150 flat fee plus $50 for every 1,000 lbs (454 kg) of the aircraft’s MTOW.
Crew fees result from operators having to provide the crew with housing, food, and per diem for their stay at an airport away from home. These costs stack up fast, especially on trips requiring longer stays.
Based on the estimates by Compare Private Planes.com, the yearly cost for airport, navigation, and crew fees per annum for a CL350 is $67,127.
Miscellaneous Variable Cost
These are sudden and unplanned costs that occur and are directly proportional to aircraft usage. For example, compare private planes.com estimates that for a CL350 flying 200 hours a year, $10,000 should be budgeted for variable miscellaneous costs.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Orders
Bombardier doesn’t disclose the number of orders it receives for its private jets, but they do publish the number of deliveries. According to Bombardier’s data, the CL350 has topped the charts for deliveries in its category since 2013.
The company delivered the 350th unit in 2020, and there are more than 390 in active service, with many more on order.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Variants
There are two variants of the Challenger 350.
The predecessor to the Challenger 350, the Challenger 300, was announced in 1999 and was introduced into service in January 2004. The aircraft laid the foundation for the success of the Challenger 350 and sold over 450 units during its 13-year production run. The aircraft is so popular because it offers so much for so little and is a fantastic all-rounder.
The original CL300 has a lower range of 3,100 nmi (5,741 km) versus the CL350’s 3,200 nmi (5,926 km) because it lacks the winglets and extra space Bombardier made for fuel in CL350.
And less power because its older Honeywell HTF7000 produces 6,826 lbf (30.4 kN) each. All the other performance numbers remain roughly the same, including maximum speeds and service ceilings.
The Challenger 3500 is the Challenger 350’s successor. It ups the ante in almost every way imaginable without losing any features that made the CL350 an industry favorite. Moreover, it can fly even further, boasting a range of 3,400 nm (6,297 km) and opening up more routes.
The award-winning Nuage seats of its bigger cousins have made their way into the CL3500’s cabin. However, Bombardier breaks the mold again and introduces cabin technology such as 4K screens, voice control, and wireless charging, which have never before been seen in this class of aircraft.
Bombardier’s efforts have won the CL3500 the 2022 Red Dot: “Best of the Best” Award for product design, one of the most coveted awards across many industries.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Competitors
Embraer Legacy 450
The Embraer Legacy 450 is similar to the Challenger 350 in many ways. They have similar airframes, engines, and configurations and even share the same flight deck and auxiliary power unit. At first glance, these two aircraft seem well-matched, but this isn’t exactly true.
The Legacy 450 sold significantly less than the Challenger 350, and all it takes is a look at the spec sheet to see why. The main difference is the range. The Legacy 450 can only manage 2,904 nm (5,378 km), nearly 300 nm (555.6 km) less than the CL350.
The difference might not seem like much, but it severely reduces the route options available to passengers. Because of its short range, the Legacy 450 isn’t truly transcontinental.
When the cabin of the Legacy 450 is compared to that of the CL350, it falls short. It doesn’t mean that the former’s cabin isn’t good, it’s brilliant, but it doesn’t match the level of comfort and doesn’t have as many features as the latter.
Overall the Legacy 450 doesn’t put up much of a fight, and its sales numbers make this apparent. Over its five-year production run, only 57 were sold. But this aircraft is $10 million cheaper than the CL350.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: How much does a Bombardier Challenger 350 Cost?
Answer: A Challenger 350 starts at $26.7 million.
Question: What is the Cabin Altitude of a Challenger 350 at 41,000 ft?
Answer: The cabin altitude at 41,000 ft is 7,848 ft.
Question: What is the Total Yearly Operating Cost of a Challenger 350?
Answer: $1,083,427 is the total cost per annum.
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