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Canadair Challenger 600 series

It is actually not so difficult to recognise a Challenger 600 if you know a Canadair Regional Jet. It is just a short version of it, but the development of course went the other way: the Challenger 600 is actually the ancestor of all CRJs. The CRJs are essentially stretched versions of the Challenger 600 series. All have the same, very streamlined nose with narrow, rounded cockpit windows.

The Canadian Forces have (had) several Challenger models with designations CC-144, CE-144, CU-144 and CX-144. These were variant of the Challenger 600/600S, 601 and 604.

Nose of Challenger 600 series, with slim cockpit windows. Note that the nose gear is shorter than on the Global family.

Different versions

To differentiate between the subtypes you have to look at

  • the shape of the engine nacelles
  • the shape of the tailcone
  • the rims of the main landing gear wheels
  • the presence of winglets

CL-600-1A11 Challenger 600 & Challenger 600S

The Challenger 600 has two Lycoming engines, that have a single exhaust at the end of the nacelle. The aircraft has no winglets.

The Challenger 600S is an upgrade version of the 600 with as most important external feature the winglets. Therefore easily distinguishable from the Challenger 600.

Challenger 600, without winglets

Lycoming engines of Challenger 600, with a single exhaust.

Challenger 600S, with winglets

CL-600-1A12 Challenger 601

The Challenger 601 was the successor of the CL-600(S) with new General Electric CF34-1A engines. It is easily recognisable on the outside due to the new engines, as they have two separate exhausts for the fan and the core instead of a common exhaust as with the Lycoming.

Challenger 601

General Electric engines of Challenger 601 and later models, with a separate fan exhaust.

Confusion possible with

Canadair Regional Jet 100/200

CRJ100 200

This is the regional jet aircraft that is based on the Challenger 600 series. Externally the biggest difference is the length: the CRJ is much longer than the Challenger

Bombardier Challenger 300/350

cl 300

The Challenger 300/350 looks like its larger sibling, the Challenger 600 series. Look at the cockpit windows to keep them apart. They keep the same height at the 600 series, and become narrower towards the end at the 300/350. Also on all large cabin Challengers - except the 600 and 600S - the engines have a separate fan exhaust, while the Challenger 300/350 has a single exhaust.

CL-600-2B16 Challenger 601-3A & 601-3R

The Challenger 601-3A and 601-3R also have CF34 engines. In addition most 601-3As and all 601-3Rs have a pointier tail cone, while most "ordinary" 601s have a more "blunt" tail cone. The problem lies in the word "most", because the first Challenger 601-3As have an old tail cone. The more pointed tail cone is available as retrofit for these aircraft, but not all have received this.

Challenger 601-3R, with its more pointed tail cone than the 601.

Square, more pointed tail cone of the Challenger 601-3R and 604.

Wheel rims of Challenger 601-3R and earlier models.

CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604

Also this version resembles its predecessor, the 601-3R. However, you can recognise the subtype by the wheels of the main landing gear. These have rims about seven large holes, while the older Challengers have no holes or a lot of small ones. Just look at the pictures, and you will see the difference!

The US Coast Guard has flown a Challenger 604 under the designation C-143A.

Challenger 604

Wheel rims of Challenger 604 and later.

CL-600-2B16 Challenger 605 & 650

Starting with the Challenger 605 the aircraft has a more rounded conical tail cone than the 601-3R and 604, but is still more pointed than that of the 600/601. Also the windows are bit larger, but that is difficult to observe.

The Challenger 650 is externally the same as the 605, but has a redesigned interior cabin, more advanced flight deck and an increased take-off thrust.

Challenger 605

Still pointed, but more rounded tail cone of Challenger 605 & 650.