When it comes to flying an aircraft as unique as the Challenger 350, the rush is unmatchable. Not everyone is cut out for the profession, since the essence of any good pilot comes from his or her ability to fly fast while thinking fast - something that is second nature for Bombardier Business Aircraft demonstrator pilot Denny Yount.
A former US Air Force pilot of over 27 years, Yount has spent the last nine years flying and demonstrating Bombardier jets all over the world, and he has been an integral part of the Challenger 350 aircraft program: “Six years ago, I picked up our very first Challenger 350 jet off the production line.” While he logs almost 400 flight hours a year, his day-to-day involves showing potential owners, pilots and influential leaders what these showstopping jets can do in full flight.
It’s a task that’s made easy when flying an aircraft as remarkable as its captain. The Challenger 350, which Robb Report named the best super mid-size jet of 2018 and 2019, is just that. It outsmarts its competition at every turn. Its specs read like a pilot’s wish list. For starters, it goes from a dark cockpit to ready-to-fly in under seven minutes; it then climbs quickly and directly to a cruising altitude of up to 43,000 feet (13,106 meters). Sitting well above commercial air traffic and adverse weather conditions means pilots enjoy distraction-free flying at an impressive top speed of M 0.83.
Technically there are many more reasons why the Challenger 350 jet lives up to its hype as best in class. The feeling a pilot has after takeoff is powerful. It’s an intensity that impassioned flyers can only get with a finely tuned high-performance aircraft. It elicits a response that is typically shared among serious sports car aficionados. Much like the thrill of driving a souped-up car, the Challenger 350 jet’s performance and high-caliber agility make it a ride that exhilarates.
Performance is of little concern as it meets any situation head-on, including taking off and landing at some of the world’s most demanding airports Santa Monica, Aspen, London City and Lugano. One of Yount’s most unforgettable trips was flying a potential client from Nice, France, into Switzerland’s Gstaad Airport. The Swiss village is considered one of the most challenging to fly into with its difficult mountainous terrain and short runway. Owning a house there, the customer wanted an aircraft that could get in and out with complete ease and safety. But it turned out to be a simple decision, Yount says, “Before I’d even turned off the runway, he was clapping and when he got off the jet he told us this was the exact aircraft he’d been looking for.”
Recent upgrades have improved the cockpit experience even further. A compact Head-up Display (HUD) and Enhanced Vision System (EVS) mean that pilots can fly eyes forward and easily soar past even their most ambitious flight goals. The aircraft’s stability, impeccable handling and flexible wing design mean that even during quick turns and tactical manoeuvres, passenger comfort is never compromised.
There are many other reasons why the jet is so exhilarating to fly, “The way it’s designed, and the way it performs in a clean configuration is almost identical to the way it feels on the controls,” says Yount. “This gives you a consistent feel throughout the entire flight whereas other jets can act and feel differently once their landing gear, flaps or landing configuration are deployed. This means your control inputs can be very different depending on the situation.” It’s a small-yet-important detail that hasn’t been missed on the Challenger 350.
On the ground, the aircraft also commands attention. The Challenger 350 jet’s sleek design and unparalleled ramp appeal see it sit high on the runway, making it immediately recognizable. Yount adds, “Besides the reliability and performance, it’s just a good-looking aircraft.”
With brains, brawn and a streamlined design that immediately conveys a sense of style and agility, it’s no wonder the Challenger 350 has cemented its status as the top gun of the private aviation world.
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