Bombardier has unveiled a new look and branding for its venerable Challenger 300/350 family that brings it in line with the Global nomenclature, borrows some of the high-end interior features from its flagship Global 7500, and adds new equipment, including an autothrottle.
The aircraft was revealed on September 14 during an event at Bombardier facilities in Montreal. The display featured a mockup of the new model in the bronze and gold livery used during the Global 5500/6500 launch. The Challenger 3500 builds on the 350 and eventually will replace it on the production line, the company said. Nearly 250 people gathered for the rollout event, which drew local and industry leaders, customers, and the leadership and board of Bombardier, including chairman emeritus Laurent Beaudoin and chairman Pierre Beaudoin.
The airframer's president and CEO, Éric Martel, who joined the current chairman in the formal launch ceremony, said the 3500 “features all the bestselling elements of the Challenger platform—impressive performance, consistent reliability, exceptional smooth ride—while elevating the cabin experience.”
To be available in the second half of 2022 at the same $26.7 million list price as the Challenger 350, the 3500 will introduce features such as voice-controlled cabin management and wireless charging.
The 3500 will retain the engines, avionics, and performance of its predecessor super-midsize business jet. But the new Safe Flight autothrottle will ease control and pilot workload, said Mathieu St-Cyr, manager of sales engineering.
Bombardier took a holistic approach to the cabin, considering comfort, the connected passenger, wellness, styling, and sustainability, the company said.
“We wanted to make sure we embedded a lot of the newer technology that people expect these days in their cars and their home, such as wireless charging,” said Laurence Casia, manager of industrial design and cabin innovation. “There are a lot of amenities that are becoming expectations but are still rare in business aircraft. So, we're introducing a lot of those features. And we really wanted to emphasize comfort, not just for comfort's sake but also for productivity.”
This approach is particularly important for “concept” buyers—the non-fleet owners—and new buyers coming into the market, he said.
Bombardier is bringing its hallmark Nuage seats—first introduced in the Global 7500 and later in the Global 5500 and 6500—to the Challenger 3500. The seats use a patented tilt link system to provide a deep recline position for additional comfort, as well as a “floating base” for ease of movement and a tilted headrest.
Offered in four double-club configuration or with an optional divan replacing two of the seats, the Challenger 3500 Nuages are contoured, taking away a “boxy” look found with traditional business jet seats and providing a feeling of wider aisles. The seats are shaped to allow passengers to curl their feet underneath, which Casia said is a more natural way for customers to sit.
The divan is fitted with pull-out drawers at either end that can be used for storage of drinks and snacks. The drawers are positioned so the passenger can easily open them without having to struggle to reach down.
Bombardier redesigned the forward galley, incorporating features such as a see-through wine cooler and crystal holder that are showcased as passengers board. The workspace was altered to allow for a large espresso machine along with an oven, which can be hidden behind a trifold door.
The cabin management system incorporates new capabilities such as voice-activated controls for everything from lighting to sound and media that can play on 24-inch, 4K displays. Voice activation works through a CMS app on passengers' personal devices. Wireless charging pads are folded into side ledges adjacent to the forward-facing seats.
In addition, Bombardier is incorporating an approach to the sound system borrowed from the Global 7500. It includes controls that will enable a “sweet spot” sound experience that is optimized for where a passenger is seated.
Bombardier is lowering the cabin altitude by 2,000 feet, to 4,850 feet, at FL410, a 31 percent improvement. This was accomplished through reviews of technical materials and testing as well as a reinforcement of the bulkhead.
Bombardier is marking its second full aircraft Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) with the Challenger 3500. It obtained its initial EPD for the Global 7500 in June 2020, a first in business aviation. Third-party verified to international ISO standards, the EPD discloses detailed environmental information about a product’s lifecycle, such as CO2 emissions, noise, water consumption, and other key environmental impact indicators.
Flight testing on the newest Challenger 3500 is carbon neutral through the use of sustainable aviation fuel and carbon offsets.
Bombardier is offering an eco app for the Challenger 3500 developed by SITA to enable flight crews to optimize flight plans to reduce fuel burn. The app will use data from the aircraft’s health monitoring unit, which comes standard on the 3500.
Bombardier is also employing more sustainable materials in the cabin finishings. These include veneers from eucalyptus trees, which grow faster and require less water than most trees. Other examples are the use of “upcycled” wool and polyesters that are reclaimed from manufacturing processes. Additional materials, such as flax and hemp, are under evaluation.
Bombardier folds in curves in the lines throughout the cabin as a nod to the Challenger winglet and incorporates the look and feel of high-end automobiles.
The 3500 will retain some enhancements that Bombardier has made to the Challenger 350 since its introduction into the market in 2014. These include double-layering of insulation for a quieter cabin, head-up display and enhanced vision on the flight deck, a performance package that enabled the aircraft to fly 1,500 nm farther out of short runways, and optional Ka-band connectivity.