BOMBARDIER HAS begun flight-testing the Canadair Challenger 604 business-jet with the definitive General Electric CF34-3B engines. The prototype, a modified Challenger 601-3R, was flown with -3Bs for the first time at the Learjet flight-test centre in Wichita, Kansas, on 17 March.

The first production 604 is nearing completion in Montreal, Canada, one month ahead of schedule, Bombardier says. The first flight is scheduled for July, leading to Canadian certification in October and first customer deliveries in February 1996.

Three 604s are now in production, alongside the 601-3R. Output will be switched over completely to the 7,400km (4,000nm)-range 604 in January 1996, without any reduction in the two-a-month production rate, the manufacturer says.

John Lawson, the new president of Bombardier's business-aircraft division, says that options under examination for future Challenger development include using the longer fuselage of the Canadair Regional Jet and the longer wing and up-rated CF34 engines planned for the stretched CRJ-X regional airliner.

Source: Flight International