Bombardier’s Challenger 650: Buyers’ and Investors’ Guide

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Our OPINION:

Advantages: This is a very capable jet, with the largest cabin in its class and excellent ownership prospects.

Disadvantages: Based on a platform from 1978. However some could argue if it isn’t broken – don’t fix it.

What is it?

Bombardier is known for making some of the best business jets in the industry, despite speculation of their current financial position. The Challenger 650 is the updated version of the Challenger 605, which also features a completely re-designed cabin over previous CL-600 platform aircraft. Although Bombardier market the Challenger 650 as a “large aircraft”, it is really a top end super-midsize jet.

It was announced during NBAA 2014, with NetJets being the launch customer – ordering an impressive 75 650s.

The 650 is a well-rounded aircraft, with few compromises being made between performance and a comfortable cabin.

Flying

The Challenger 650 has a range of 4603mi/7408km/4000nm, further than the G280 and Embraer’s Legacy 650 – and far enough to connect key cities such as London and New York, Dubai and London, Singapore and Sydney.

Its high speed cruise of 540mph/870kph/Mach 0.7 is faster than competition aircraft with the exception of the G280, and a maximum attitude of 41000ft means the aircraft can fly over bad weather.

Two GE CF34-3B MTO engines deliver a higher thrust rate (an extra 5% over previous Challenger 600 models) – which also reduces the takeoff field length needed and provides greater versatility.

Bombardier claims that the Challenger 650 is able to be certified for steep approaches – enabling access to airports such as London City. A combination of a long range and access to smaller airfields makes it a highly effective aircraft.

Travelling

Bombardier has completely redesigned the cabin for the 650, with four different floor plans – seating up to 12 passengers. Options include divans, an extended lavatory (which doubles up as a full size changing room) and a four person conference table.

Interior features include a state of the art cabin management system, along with on-demand media access which can be viewed on the 24inch bulkhead screens.

The cabin boats the largest bulkhead screens in the super mid-size market.

Bombardier have also revised the galley by fitting larger appliances in order to reduce the time needed for meal services by half. Although not the most exciting update, reducing preparation time for 12 meals can save a huge amount of time – a factor that most don’t consider – but becomes important when travelling.

A width of 7ft 11in makes the 650’s cabin the largest in the super midsize market – 5 inches wider than the closest competition – a significant increase to passenger space, making the Challenger 650 the best choice with regards to cabin comfort.

Owning

The main advantage of having a business jet is to be able to reach a destination quickly and easily – something which is made difficult with an unreliable aircraft. Between the Challenger 650 having a 99.9% dispatch rate, and the whole Challenger platform logging over 5 million flight hours – the 650 is one of the most dependable aircraft available.

If something goes wrong, Bombardier has a globally established maintenance department – offering 24/7 customer support through a network of 14 regional support offices worldwide.

Bombardier unveiled the multirole variant of the Challenger 650 during the 2016 Singapore Airshow – a positive sign that the 650 platform will see continual support from the OEM.

At a list price of $32.4 million, it is slightly more expensive than its closest competitors. Pre-owned prices are yet to be seen, but prices for pre-owned competition aircraft should see the 650 go on the market for around $21 million.

Residual values for Challenger aircraft have historically stayed high, meaning pre-owned aircraft usually don’t stay on the market for long – a positive sign of a good investment for buyers.

 

Hard facts:

Maximum range: 4603mi/7408km/4000nm

Maximum speed: 540mpk/870kph/Mach 0.7

Typical passengers: 10

Typical crew: 4

Competition: G280, Falcon 2000 LXS, Legacy 650, Citation Hemisphere,

List price: $32.4 million

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