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Aircraft Review : Bombardier Challenger 300 by Dden Design Route - EGKB (Biggin Hill) to LFMN (Nice/Cote d’Azur) Everyone has their idea of their ultimate status symbol. But nothing will compare with a personal jet. Even for Steve Job’s who came back to Apple in the later 1990’s and worked for a dollar a week still took the personal jet as in re-payment for putting the place back together. The bankers and car makers after the fall of the GFC realised they had to give everything up... But losing those jets really hurt. If they had to give them up then they were very quickly back in the inventory as soon as the cash started flowing again, As they are the ultimate freedom, The goal, The “I really made it” statement. So wouldn’t you like your very own personal Jet? Well X-Plane has a way of making your dreams come true, and here it is in the Bombardier Challenger 300. As personal jets go this is a real beauty. But in more ways than one. Created by Dden the design work is flawless. I have a picture which is nearly a few years old now that is significant in that it is on my computer desk top. I look at it every day, and it has two resonates with me. One, It shows how great X-Plane is and Two, It looks like a real aircraft picture and not an aircraft in an simulator. I have studied it and if any work can live up to the a perfect rendition of a design then it is very good... If not the best in X-Plane. But is the beauty just skin deep? Thankfully no. The aircraft is a highly complex and fully featured driven machine. You have a lot of menus and all accessed by the pop-out menu on your left side of the screen. In order - Fast Start - Sets the aircraft up quickly and lets you fly straight away. Exter Preflight - (Above) you start by pressing the buttons numbered 1 to 24 and it produces the different angles of checking around the aircraft, It also allows you to add or remove the storage flags, wheel chocks and engine covers. Want to start again? then you can by just pressing the “Start Again” point. Cameras - Pre-set views inside the aircraft (useful before the current built in X-Plane version), views include Pilot, Co-Pilot, Cabin 1,2 & 3, Lavatory and Bagage (Baggage). Animations - A useful set of tools that opens the aircraft main door, Baggage door, Emergency hatch, Blinds (internal), Entry blind/door (internal), Washroom door (internal), rear baggage door (internal), and tables (internal). As my VIP’s are aboard it is easy with this menu to shut the door and baggage door without groping for a handle. Instruments - A menu to access different that instruments and displays on the panel of the aircraft. Options - a menu that allows you to save your current position and status and adjust the volume of your sounds. There is a very good pop-up “Checklist” menu as well and a more modern MCDU that is built in but not operable at this point. The checklist is easy to procedure in checking the items off, Starting the engines is turning on pumps, fuel supply and the ignition. Then turning a switch to the engine you want to start. You can sit it the pilots seat and hear the whine start up in the background, but that would be missing the experience. Go to the rear of the aircraft and wait while the engine management system starts the Honeywell HTF7000 turbofan. It is in full 3d sound and glorious it is. Start engine two and add to the noise of power and tremble at the thought of all that thrust waiting to be unleashed. It sounds good, really good this aircraft. There is a very large list of items to check and solve before releasing the brakes and the Challenger has a great solving system that as you correct each item it disappears from the list in the engine (EICAS) display in the MFD (The EICAS display pops-out). once the list is completely clear the aircraft is ready for flight. Pop off the brakes and set the flaps to 20º (lots of fuel and expensive luggage) and your into the taxi. I throughly recommend a throttle system for this aircraft... Totally a requirement. Nudge the throttle and your moving and taxi is easy enough to complete your checklists and clean ups ready before flight without having to constantly having to adjust the speed, just a nudge of the brakes is usually enough. Clearance and push up the power, there is no drift from the centre line and rotation is to 15º nose up. And up you go! It climbs with all that power, 2500fpm minute is easy and you still have to watch the throttle in case it goes right up into the red zone. Maximum speed: 891 km/h, m.83 (554 mph; 481 kn), Range: 5,741 km (3,567 mi; 3,100 nmi) at 0.78 Mach, Service ceiling: 13,716 m (45,000 ft), Rate of climb: 25.4 m/s (5,000 ft/min) at 17,622 kg (38,850 lb) max gross weight It is fast this aircraft and the range may sound impressive, London to Dubai in one fuel load. But it does not work out that way. I found the range more in the 2500 - 2700 nmi range zone, and a refuel stopover (Rome) in going LON-DXB was always required. Flying Europe to Asia required two stop-overs and so did the West Coast of the USA. The super-mid-sized jet project was launched at the Paris Air Show by Bombardier July 13, 1999, at which time it was called the Bombardier Continental. It was a “clean sheet” design and to be assembled in Bombardier’s Learjet plant at Wichita Mid-Continent airport, Kansas. The jet was renamed in September 2002 to the Challenger 300 after much debate about which category (Learjet, Challenger, or Global) the new aircraft would fit into, The C300 entered commercial service in January 2004. To date 400 have been built and will cost your around US$20 million, Second-hand you can pickup a very nice one for around 12million. (Yes I checked in case I won the lotto!) On May 20, 2013 Bombardier announced the Challenger 350, an improved version of the 300, and promised to begin deliveries in May 2014 at a price of $25.9 million. The Challenger 350 first flew on March 2, 2013. Once cleared of the London Area I was going to pick up my "Stansted - Nice" route just over the channel. Climb continued at 2500ft fpm to 28,000ft and you got to that height and speed in no time. The layout on the panel is quite different from most cockpit layouts. There is no overhead panel so the item usually on there are on the centre pedestal (lights, Air, Fuel and bleed) There are four Main Display Panels (MFD) that are two for the Pilot and two for the Co-Pilot and are switchable. The right one is the standard artificial-horizon and speed, V/S and height tapes with the MAP/Rose set out below. Your selection of A/P, G/S, 1/2bank and other important situation aware items are in a line above the Art-Horizon The left is the engine displays (checklist) EICAS at the top and a selection of displays from the menu at the bottom. Displays are : Anti-Ice, ECS, Electrical, Flight Controls, Fuel and Hydraulics, there is also a standard “Summary” display that gives you an overview of the systems. I usually put the rose on the lower part of this second panel because it shows the VOR1 and VOR2 information, that is missing on the left panel (MFD), Oddly I think it is on the panel but I can never find the setting, I did once but then I lost it again and usually spend 60% of any flight trying to get it back Again? The glare-shield instruments are complex beasts, easy to mix up and you need to do a quick look over the manual every time you use them. Even just setting the Radio freq is a task that can take a few moments. 1/2 Bank limits your banking angle and is well worth using. Take-off and landing refs. are displayed and so is the FMS1, VOR1/VOR2 settings on the right MFD, the MAP displays the waypoints but at a size that is to small and they are a guide really more than for actual reading. The layout is though and as mentioned slightly complex and it will take a little time to be really comfortable with every switch and knob. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The main cabin is luxurious beyond belief, with highly polished wood grain and white leather chairs. All the tables fold out (on the animations menu) and you have access to the rear vanity unit (one wonderful sliding down door) and another animated door that accesses the baggage compartment and clothes rack. Open and close the window blinds that show both sides in or out of the aircraft and the view from the windows are as good as anything anywhere. I will spend as much time back here as in the drivers seat and a replay to watch a landing is always a great idea sitting in luxury. Opening the front door blind will also drop the stairs. There are eight HD (Hi-Definition) liveries with one white paint, The C-GJCV is my favorite and the default is the OE-HPZ with its crazy red lineage of which I don’t really like as it looks like in places that the livery is on incorrectly. There is a full series of liveries on the .org for the C300 : Challenger 300 Liveries and Walterbenny has done a large series of Canadian Army and Airforce liveries that are worthy of your attention. Walterbenny Night-lighting is very good with HDR on. Wing-lighting (Ice!) landing lights (two), tail-lighting, cabin on/off and adjustable panel lighting. The glow from the MFD screens are wonderfully reflected under the glare-shield. Only odd moment is with HDR off? The aircraft become lucent and looks odd in the dark sky? In Flight and Landing There is no auto/throttle on the C300, so you are the soul auto/setter of the power. A throttle system is really invaluable here because the aircraft needs minute adjustments to keep the speed under control, a nice safe point can be found but any changes to height or weather will move your attention to finding that sweet spot all over again. Powering up to your height and the handling in flight is very good but the workload builds when you get closer to landing. The C300 is not an easy aircraft to land and it requires a little practice to get really right. You will find that when it is time to descend you need a lot of space between you and your intended runway. Throttle back and start your descent and the speed will be hard to contain, you have two options a long and slow descent or normal with the use of the effective air-brakes or a combination of both, just note that as you get lower to balance the power and not drop off all the speed. You arm the air-brakes for landing by a switch in either “Auto” or “Manual” mode. Dropping the flaps will mean a very good balance of speed and power (those throttle levers if you have them). The aircraft has a tendency to be a little unstable at low speeds and a low speed is what you require for a slow landing. 140kts is your aim under full flap with 115-120knts under the glideslope or landing. The point of getting the approach right is crucial as the aircraft can get very flat in response if you don’t. But get the speed right (and as low as you can without any stall) and you can kiss the runway. Activate those huge (very effective) thrust-reversers and the aircraft will soon be down to a 10knt roll. Taxi in and clean the aircraft up, (Twin taxi lights on the nose gear) and park-up, Let down the doors and unload the expensive luggage... The VIP”s are loaded into a couple of Black Mercedes and you are soon left alone with the Challenger 300. Notes taken and the aircraft is shut right down and all the tags and covers are set to protect your expensive investment. Conclusions The debate here is not with the aircraft. As a piece of workmanship the Challenger is as close to perfection as you can get, The detailing and the skins of this aircraft are simply sublime. Nothing comes close and remember it has been released for a few years now as I have had for two years. It is 64bit upgraded and so also flies fine in the latest X-Plane10 versions (Current 10.22). I would love Dden to finish off that hidden MCDU as it would be icing on the cake and as these MCDU’s are now quite commonplace than when the aircraft was released. No the debate is that is the Challenger the best aircraft in X-Plane at this price, The Carenado aircraft have closed the game since the Challenger has been released in quality and are priced around the same sub-US$30 market. I personally think the Challenger 300 is still the best value in X-Plane you can get at this price and still holding its own a few years after it was released. If fact it feels like it was released only yesterday and has certainly not aged one bit. That is of course due to the skill and design of Dden in this sublime machine. For us the dream of owning your own personal jet and operating it can certainly be rewarded with the Challenger 300. Nearly two years on after I purchased it I still give it a touch in admiration after every flight and declare... “I really made it!” _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Bombardier Challenger 300 Captain Edition is available now from the X-Plane.org Store : Bombardier Challenger 300 Captain Edition Price is US$29.95 Technical Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux 512Mb VRAM X-Plane 9 or X-Plane 10 fully updated- 32 and 64 bit compatible updated store# Documents : Two Manuals with one being a “Quickflight” Guide Download: 254.60mb Developer Site : None (support is here Bombardier Challenger 300) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review By Stephen Dutton 21st September 2013 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX - Aerosoft - LFMN Nice Cote d Azur X Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle