Upgrade: Challenger Owner Jumps From 300 to 350


The owner of the Elite Air-managed Challenger 300 will take delivery of a new Challenger 350 at the end of September. The super midsize jet is expected to be available for charter at the same hourly rate as the 300 beginning Sept. 29. The fifth Bombardier Challenger 350 off the assembly line, the aircraft will be the first of its kind available for charter.

Challenger Captain Rich Bilton had high praise for the new airplane after flying it for the first time on Sept. 17. In addition to the jet’s performance, Bilton highlighted the comfort and amenities of the cabin, which features large TV monitors forward and aft capable of playing different media on each screen from multiple sources (e.g. iPad, DVD, Blu-ray, storage devices, internet streaming), satellite radio, and noise cancelling Bose headsets at each seat.

“The Challenger 350 is an updated Challenger 300 on steroids,” Bilton said. “If one word could describe the Challenger 350, it would be ‘amazing.’”

The move to the 350 represents an upgrade for an aircraft that is already one of the most popular charter platforms in the world. The Orlando-based 300, owned by property development firm Unicorp National Developments Inc., has proven to be a favorite charter aircraft for many of Elite Air’s customers when it’s not in use by Unicorp’s executives.

“The Challenger 300 and other super midsize jets are extremely versatile and offer a great cabin size and range for the money,” Elite Air Sales Director AJ Becker said. “The new 350 will deliver an even more luxurious experience to our customers at the same hourly rate as the 300.”

In addition to the redesigned cabin, which can be configured to hold as many as 10 passengers, the Challenger 350 can travel at nearly 600 mph, has over 900 pounds more thrust than the 300 and climbs to flight level 450 in under 16 minutes. The 350 can carry at least 1,750 pounds more than the 300, allowing it to fly eight passengers with full fuel more than 3,500 miles. Newly designed winglets increase fuel efficiency on the aircraft, and its power and responsiveness make it better suited to handling short runways.

The Challenger 350’s updated flight deck are intended to make the job of the pilot easier and the ride safer. Bilton praised its advanced avionics package, which includes Synthetic Vision, Dual FMS, IRS, IFIS, ADS-B, DATALINK, XM weather, SATCOM and CPDLC, all certified to fly anywhere on the planet.

As with the Elite Air-managed Challenger 300, the new 350 will offer free wireless internet access on all flights thanks to an arrangement with the aircraft’s owner. That’s a critical benefit, according to Becker.

“I’ve said it before, if you want to charter your aircraft more, the best way to do it is to have free wifi,” he said.