Laurence Casia, Manager, Industrial Design and Cabin Innovation, answers EWM questions on the Challenger 3500 advanced features
The new Challenger 3500 exceptional cabin is benefiting from a large set of technologies developed for the Ultra-Long Range Global 7500.
Can you give us a quick overview of some of these advanced features that passengers can now experience on a super-midsize jet?
With the Challenger 3500 we had the opportunity to leverage the know-how and innovation from our Global 7500 and inspire ourselves from the unrivalled Global 7500 business jet cabin to prioritize what our customers value most: a truly exceptional and intuitive cabin experience. We crafted its intelligent and sustainably-minded cabin features to combine comfort with function. Bombardier’s exclusive and patented Nuage seat is a perfect case in point. The seat, which represents the first new business aircraft seat configuration in three decades and had previously been exclusive to the Global aircraft, is now part of the Challenger 3500 standard configuration – the first time a seat of this calibre is available in the super mid-size segment.
For home-like entertainment on board, the standard 24-inch 4K displays were introduced to the Challenger 3500, the only ones in its class. The immersive sound system of the Challenger 3500 not only provides an evenly dispersed sound throughout the cabin but also features an aspect it inherited from the Global 7500: the audio “sweet spot” function, which allows travellers to choose an optimum sound experience wherever they are seated.
The Challenger 3500 also introduces several industry-first features itself, including a voice-controlled cabin, 4K entertainment and first-in-class wireless chargers throughout the cabin, as well as USB-C connectors at every seat. With the Challenger 3500, we also introduced new, sustainable cabin materials that we have now started offering on other Bombardier aircraft as well. Another first in the business aviation industry was the introduction of the eco app (eWAS Pilot with OptiFlight® from SITA) which allows crews to optimize their flight profiles, maximizing fuel efficiency, lowering CO2 emissions, and improving situational awareness for a safer, more efficient and comfortable flight.
The most noticeable feature inherited from the Global 7500 is definitely the new Bombardier’s patented Nuage seat. Can you walk us through some of the seat features and the challenge to integrate them into a super-midsize cabin?
We are very proud to be bringing our patented Nuage seat to the Challenger 3500 aircraft, the first time a seat of this calibre is available in the super-midsize segment. It brings a new level of comfort, ergonomics, and productivity compared to previous designs. The Nuage seat aboard the Challenger 3500 has all the exclusive design features that we debuted on the Global 7500 aircraft, such as the floating base, tilt-link system, and pivoting head rest. The one-of-a-kind floating base houses a novel fluid movement system for effortless tracking, and a thoughtfully engineered swivel axis maintains an intuitively centered point of rotation in any position. The unique tilting headrest provides an essential ergonomic neck support for perfect comfort.
However, the Nuage seat on the Challenger 3500 is slightly different than the seat introduced on the Global 7500 aircraft. While all its exclusive design features remain the same, we refined its proportions so that they are better suited to the Challenger 3500 cabin. This resulted in an added feeling of spaciousness in the cabin, the widest in its class. We also introduced the swept-back leg rest, which allows one’s heels to rest behind the knees like in an office seat, which is especially relevant in a business jet where productivity is so important. These changes are essential for ensuring the utmost comfort for our clients without sacrificing quality or aesthetics to create the most elevated seating experience yet.
The new cabin is clearly developed to suit the new generation of highly connected passengers. Can you tell us more about the Challenger 3500 cabin management system features?
The Challenger 3500 aircraft has been designed as an extension of our customers’ home and office to maximize productivity and comfort. Passengers won’t have to pause their work and life while in the air. With the high-speed Ka-band internet, they can stay fully connected for video conferencing, but also to relax and stream their favourite series or play a video game. The Challenger 3500 cabin also includes the only 24 in (61 cm) 4K display in its class for stunning picture quality and crisp, vivid colours. Another extension of the home environment is voice control.
We are increasingly used to it in our cars and our homes – why not also in our jets? With the Challenger 3500, Bombardier was the first in the industry to introduce a voice-controlled cabin, seamlessly integrating it into the aircraft’s cabin management system. No more navigating menus: travellers can say what they want to control lighting, temperature, entertainment and access real-time flight information through the aircraft’s voice control. It has been specifically designed to work without an internet connection for added convenience and privacy. First-in-class wireless chargers, which are conveniently located throughout the cabin, allow travellers to charge their compatible phones without the hassle of power cables and chargers. And the haptic touch technology, another first on a business jet, further simplifies the user experience: similar to the tap or quick vibration you feel when interacting with your phone, the elegantly designed glass cabin control switches vibrate when pressed, providing instant feedback that the command has been successfully activated.
The Challenger 350 is the most successful super-midsize business jet within fleet operators such as fractional ownership providers or charter operators. Are there design considerations in the new Challenger 3500 cabin for such high utilization operations?
With the Challenger 3500 we built on the aspects of its predecessors that have made the Challenger platform the best-selling super mid-size platform for the past seven years. Productivity onboard is a big consideration for fleet customers, and we paid special attention to this in upgrading the cabin. High speed Ka-band internet allows passengers to continue working in-flight as they would in the office. The Nuage seat with the added swept back leg rest is perfect for office-like work, and the USB-C chargers, conveniently located on every seat, allow for uninterrupted charging.
Since some passengers use the plane via fleet or charter operators, and are less frequent flyers, intuitive interfaces are that much more important for a flawless onboard experience. Having the possibility to manage the cabin like they would their car with voice control, for example, or through a new intuitive app is a big contribution to an intuitive flight experience, as are wireless chargers and haptic controls. And of course: no other aircraft in its class beats the Challenger 3500 in terms of reliability. Fleet operators certainly value the fact that the aircraft is designed to meet the most demanding of operations, both in terms of performance but also inside the cabin.
Bombardier is recognized as an industry leader in sustainability. In a clear testimonial to this commitment, the Challenger 3500 is now offering environmentally friendly material options. Can you provide more details on these materials and their popularity with customers?
The Challenger 3500 was built through sustainable lens and is the first super mid-sized aircraft with an Environmental Product Declaration. Beyond the production process for the aircraft itself, our team worked very hard to offer our customers high-quality, luxurious cabin materials that truly have a lower environmental footprint. For each material we considered, our engineers looked at the whole production cycle, from the raw material, its extraction, the production of the material to its applications and finishes on the aircraft. We obtained the necessary information for a full lifecycle analysis of the material from our suppliers, and, in some cases, also guided them towards a more sustainable production model.
The Challenger 3500 aircraft introduced a selection of innovative, sustainable cabin interior materials that minimize the impact on the environment, including upcycled fabrics, rapidly renewable wood options and natural and more locally sourced fiber-based materials, all of which deliver high-quality finishes without compromising aesthetics, comfort, or functionality. Some examples of these materials are eucalyptus hardwood veneer, which is a rapidly renewable resource since growth only takes a few years, or upcycled wool, which is a durable and versatile seat cover to mix into designer cabin palettes. Finding high-end interior options that are genuinely more sustainable and satisfy all the safety requirements is not easy, but we are committed to this and continue to work hard to significantly expand the offering. We seek to give our customers every chance possible to be able to experience the luxury and quality that are standard for our aircraft, all the while choosing materials that are more durable, lightweight, and contribute to the future of aviation innovation.
Our customers are increasingly asking about these options, and many of them welcome their contribution to their own environmental targets.
With a large fleet of In-Service Challenger 300 and 350 reaching their cabin refurbishment milestone. Will some of the Challenger 3500 cabin features be offered as a retrofit package for earlier generation Challenger 300 and 350?
While our expanding service network provides an impressive offering for turnkey refresh, refurbishment and upgrades, only the Challenger 3500 aircraft will offer the new cabin features.