Bombardier took its next-generation Challenger 605 wide-body bizjet for is first test flight last Sunday. The 03:23 flight took place as the company scheduled when launching the type in November 2005, allowing the company to mark a significant milestone toward certifying the next member of its Challenger business jet family. Clear skies prevailed when the aircraft, serial number 5701, departed the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport facility at 12:40 p.m. During the flight, the 605 climbed as high as FL410 and reached a maximum airspeed of 420 knots true. Takeoff weight was 38,734 pounds; the jet performed a step-climb to FL410. Additionally, the initial flight was used to test basic systems and assess the aircraft's handling, flight control checks and avionics. Other test-card items included engine, pressurization and environmental control systems, including performing those checks at maximum altitude.
"It was a great flight. We spent over three hours in the air and the aircraft performed superbly," commented captain Frank Magnusson, a 20-year career pilot who was joined by co-pilot Jacques Thibaudeau and project flight test engineer Mick Mansfield. "The new flight deck is fantastic. Pilots will truly appreciate the large LCD screens, their multi-function flexibility and the immediate access to critical flight information," said Magnusson. The Challenger 605 is an evolution of the company's existing Challenger series, including the 604, and features the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite, which includes four 10-by-12-inch LCD screens. Following several more test flights in Montreal, the aircraft will relocate to Bombardier's Flight Test Center in Wichita, Kan., for a 200-hour flight test and certification program. Transport Canada certification is expected in the fourth quarter of 2006; the aircraft is scheduled to enter service in the third quarter of 2007.