A History of Excellence: The Bombardier Challenger 600 Family of Jets

Bombardier Challanger 650 private jet

As an experienced private jet flyer, you appreciate the finer things in life. You want an aircraft that combines luxury and utility in a sleek, high-performance package. Look no further than the Bombardier Challenger 600 series, a pedigree line of business jets tracing its roots back to an inspired Bill Lear design.

Over the decades, these iconic aircraft have carried executives, celebrities and heads of state in comfort and style. Join us on an informative tour of the Challenger 600 family to understand what has made it a mainstay of elite air travel for over 30 years. From the wide-body comfort of early variants to the transcontinental range of later models, the Challenger 600 remains the gold standard in its class.

Continue reading and learn how excellence took flight.

Introduction to the Bombardier Challenger 600 Series

The Bombardier Challenger 600 series comprises some of the most popular and well-known business jets. First developed in the late 1970s by Canadair before its acquisition by Bombardier, the Challenger 600 family revolutionized the business aviation market with its spacious cabins, transcontinental range, and high performance.

The Original Challenger 600

The first aircraft in the series, the Challenger 600, was introduced in 1983. Powered by two General Electric CF34 engines, the Challenger 600 could seat up to 15 passengers and fly up to 3,200 nautical miles. The 600 established the hallmarks of the Challenger series: a comfortable, quiet cabin, impressive performance, and outstanding reliability.

The Challenger 604 and 605

The Challenger 604, introduced in 1995, featured improved engines, avionics, and a restyled interior. The 604 could carry up to 12 passengers 3,900 nautical miles. The 605 variant followed in 2000 with upgraded systems and a redesigned galley and lavatory. Over 600 Challenger 604 and 605 aircraft were delivered, cementing the model’s status as an industry leader.

The Challenger 650

The current flagship of the series is the Challenger 650, which entered service in 2014. With a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles and seating for 12 passengers, the 650 builds on the success of the 600 family with the latest in aeronautical and cabin technology.

It is a fitting culmination of the vision that launched over three decades ago and revolutionized the business jet market. The Challenger 600 series has earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence that lives on in the 650.

The Origins of the Challenger 600 Series

private jet - bombardier challenger 604 - exterior view

The Bombardier Challenger 600 series has its roots in a concept developed by Bill Lear, the creator of the Learjet, in the late 1970s. Lear envisioned a mid-size business jet to fill the gap between smaller Learjets and larger aircraft like the Lockheed JetStar. Canadair, a Canadian aerospace company, took over the program and launched the Challenger 600 in 1983.

An Innovative Aircraft

The Challenger 600 incorporated several innovations that set new standards for business jets. Its supercritical wing design and powerful engines gave it the speed and range to fly nonstop across North America and the Atlantic. The 600 also featured a spacious stand-up cabin with seating for up to 19 passengers, setting a new benchmark for comfort and amenities.

Continual Improvements

Over the following decades, Bombardier Aerospace, which acquired Canadair in 1986, released new models that built upon the success of the original Challenger 600. The Challenger 604, introduced in 1995, had updated engines that increased range and speed.

The Challenger 605, released in 2010, included improvements like redesigned wings, a new cabin, and upgraded avionics. The latest variant, the Challenger 650, debuted in 2014 with a restyled interior and the latest safety enhancements.

An Enduring Legacy

For over 35 years, the Challenger 600 series has served the needs of discerning business leaders and government officials around the world. With its combination of performance, comfort, and reliability, the Challenger created a new class of mid-size business jets and established Bombardier as a leader in executive aircraft.

For many private jet charter clients, the Challenger remains the aircraft of choice for regional and transoceanic travel. The Challenger 600 series’ enduring success and longevity is a testament to the vision that spawned it.

Key Features of the Challenger 600 Series

Spacious Cabin and Lavish Interior

The Challenger 600 jets are renowned for their spacious cabins and luxurious interiors. The cabin measures 6 feet high and 8 feet wide, with seating for up to 9 or 15 passengers depending on the specific model.

The interior incorporates the finest materials, including leather seats, wood veneers and marble accents. For entertainment, passengers can enjoy satellite TV and high-speed internet access. The galley provides ample space for gourmet meals prepared by an onboard chef.

High Performance and Efficiency

The Challenger 600 series utilizes advanced avionics and powerful turbofan engines to deliver high performance and efficiency. The Honeywell flight deck incorporates the latest navigation and communication technology for enhanced safety and situational awareness.

The aircraft can reach a maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.83 and a range of up 3,200 nautical miles. Despite its large size, the Challenger 600 is able to take off and land at most private and regional airports thanks to its impressive short-field performance.

Renowned Reliability and Low Operating Costs

Bombardier’s Challenger 600 jets are renowned for their reliability and low operating costs. The aircraft incorporates robust construction and systems designed for high utilization and minimal downtime. Routine maintenance is simplified using an advanced diagnostics system to monitor aircraft performance.

The Challenger 600 series also benefits from a worldwide support network, providing service no matter the destination. Compared to other private jets in its class, the Challenger 600 helps minimize direct operating costs over the lifetime of the aircraft.

The Challenger 600 series combines performance, comfort and efficiency like no other. For private aviation, Bombardier’s venerable Challenger 600 family of jets represents the pinnacle of excellence.

The Evolution of the Challenger 600 Over the Years

The original Challenger 600 was launched in 1983 and quickly became a leader in the super-midsize business jet category. With a range of 4,000 nautical miles, it provided transcontinental range for up to 15 passengers.

The Challenger 604

In 1995, Bombardier launched the improved Challenger 604, featuring upgraded engines that increased range and high-altitude performance. The luxury cabin accommodated up to 19 passengers in an executive configuration. By the early 2000s, the 604 had become the best-selling business jet in history, cementing the Challenger’s status as an industry leader.

The Challenger 650

Further refinements yielded the Challenger 650, released in 2014. While retaining the same airframe, it incorporated the latest avionics and cabin technologies. The 650 provides 8-10% better fuel efficiency and climbs to 41,000 feet in just 23 minutes. It is renowned for its smooth and quiet ride. With seating for up to 16 passengers, the 650 represents the pinnacle of performance, comfort, and style in the super-midsize class.

Continuous Innovation

Through continuous innovation in design and technology, the Challenger series has come to epitomize the high-performance business jet. Bombardier’s dedication to improving efficiency, range, and the overall passenger experience have made the Challenger a perennial industry leader and a favorite of discerning travelers worldwide. Over 1,000 Challengers are currently in service, a testament to the brand’s enduring quality and value. For those seeking the ultimate in corporate travel, the Challenger name remains synonymous with excellence.

The Bombardier Challenger 650: The Latest Iteration

As the latest aircraft in the Challenger 600 series, the Challenger 650 provides enhanced performance and an upgraded cabin experience. Redesigned in 2013, the 650 model offers a range of 3,200 nautical miles, connecting more city pairs than its predecessors. Powered by two Honeywell HTF7000 engines, the 650 can reach speeds up to Mach 0.83 and an altitude of 51,000 feet.

The Challenger 650’s cabin provides seating for up to 12 passengers in a spacious, productive environment. The galley features an espresso machine, convection oven, and refrigerator for freshly prepared gourmet meals. A fully enclosed lavatory provides privacy. High-speed connectivity options enable productivity, with available Wi-Fi, satellite communications, and touchscreen monitors.

For entertainment, enjoy the latest audio and visual technology, with options like Blu-ray players and surround sound. With over 1.2 million hours of proven service, the Challenger series is renowned for its reliability and dispatch reliability.

The 650 model continues this legacy, with a design focused on low operating and maintenance costs. Routine inspections and parts replacement are simplified for efficiency. As a testament to its dependability, the Challenger 650 offers a warranty of up to 10 years or 15,000 flight hours.

For those seeking a high-performance aircraft with a superior cabin experience, the Bombardier Challenger 650 is the pinnacle of its class. Backed by decades of innovation, the 650 model builds upon the success of the Challenger series to provide an unmatched combination of range, speed, and comfort. For discerning travelers and flight crews, the Challenger 650 delivers an exceptional private jet experience.

Why Choose a Bombardier Challenger 600 for Your Private Jet?

Superior Performance and Range

The Challenger 600 series is renowned for its exceptional performance and range. Powered by two turbofan engines, these aircraft can reach a maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.83 and a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles. This enables nonstop transcontinental flights across North America and direct flights between major European cities. The aircraft’s impressive runway performance also provides access to smaller regional airports.

Comfort and Luxury

With luxuriously appointed cabins, the Challenger 600 series redefines comfort for up to 19 passengers. The aircraft feature a spacious galley, an ensuite lavatory, and configurable seating options including club four, conference, and an entertainment lounge configuration. The cabins are also highly customizable to suit personal tastes from traditional wood accents to contemporary finishes.

Proven Reliability and Low Operating Costs

As one of the most successful business jet programs, the Challenger 600 series has established an unparalleled reputation for reliability and cost efficiency. The aircraft require minimal downtime for maintenance and have low operating costs compared to similar heavy jets. Owners can also benefit from Bombardier’s worldwide support network and comprehensive service plans to maximize aircraft availability and optimize budgets.

Strong Residual Values

Aircraft from the Challenger 600 series have consistently held their value over time due to strong market demand and limited availability of pre-owned models. According to industry reports, Challenger 604 and 605 aircraft have the highest residual values in their class, even decades after initial delivery. For private owners and charter operators, this translates into higher returns on investment and a more liquid asset.

With its high performance, superior comfort, proven reliability and strong residual values, the Bombardier Challenger 600 series represents the pinnacle of excellence for private jet travel. This exceptional family of aircraft has set the standard by which all other business jets are measured.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Bombardier Challenger 600 Series

Bombardier Challenger 604 parked at Idaho Falls Regional Airport

What is the range of the Challenger 600 series?

The Bombardier Challenger 600 series aircraft have a maximum range of 3,200 to 6,000 nautical miles, depending on the specific model. The Challenger 650, one of the latest variants, offers a maximum range of 4,000 nautical miles with eight passengers. This allows for direct transcontinental flights within North America as well as intercontinental travel between North America and Western Europe.

What is the typical cruising speed of a Challenger 600 series jet?

The Challenger 600 series jets have a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.80, equivalent to 530 miles per hour. At this cruising speed, the aircraft can cross North America in about five to six hours. The advanced avionics and aerodynamics of the Challenger 600 series allow for efficient long-distance travel for business or leisure purposes.

How much does a Challenger 600 series aircraft cost?

The price of a new or pre-owned Challenger 600 series jet depends on the specific model and year of manufacture. In general, a new Challenger 650 has a base price of $32 million. Older pre-owned models like the Challenger 604 and 605 typically range from $4 million to $18 million, depending on the aircraft’s age, features, avionics upgrades, and overall condition. Operating costs for a Challenger 600 series jet are around $4,000 per flight hour.

The Challenger 600 series combines a spacious, luxurious cabin with impressive performance and efficiency. For corporate flight departments or private individuals seeking a high-performance business jet, the Challenger 600 series represents an excellent option for regional and intercontinental private air travel. With cutting-edge avionics, premium cabin amenities, and a proven track record of reliability, the Challenger 600 series has cemented itself as an industry leader.


You have now explored the rich history of the Bombardier Challenger 600 series, from its inception as a concept by Bill Lear to its acquisition and continued innovation under Bombardier Aerospace. This storied family of jets set new standards for performance, comfort, and reliability in business aviation. Whether you are an aviation enthusiast or a current Challenger operator, we hope this overview has provided fascinating insights into these outstanding aircraft.

As Bombardier continues advancing the 600 series with cutting-edge upgrades, the future looks bright for these high-flying stalwarts of the skies. When excellence endures over decades, that is the mark of a true classic. We encourage you to delve deeper into the story of the Challenger 600 jets that have carried business travelers in comfort and style for over 30 years and counting.

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