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Falcon 900 vs Challenger 605 – What’s The Difference?

The Falcon 900LX and the Bombardier Challenger 605 are two popular large business jets, with similar specifications.

They both come from a long line of development. Dassault launched the Falcon 900 in 1984, improving it through various iterations to the current Falcon 900LX. Canadair launched the Challenger series in 1980, with Bombardier taking it over in 1986 and again improving it through new variants. The Challenger 604 was introduced in 1996, with the 605 following in 2006.

The two aircraft are closely matched in size, capacity, and range. The main difference comes in the engines – the Falcon 900LX is a three-engine trijet, while the Challenger 605 is a twin-engine jet. The main specs are as follows:

Specifications Falcon 900LX Challenger 605
Passenger Capacity 12 9
Max Range (NM) 4,750 4,123
Normal Cruise Speed (KMH) 850  850
Cabin Size (Meters) 10.1 x 1.9 x 2.3 8.7 x 1.9 x 2.5
Baggage Capacity (CU FT) 127 115

Closely matched, but more range for the Falcon 900LX

For many purposes, the two aircraft are closely matched. They offer similar sized cabins and capacity, and both have a good range of over 4,000 nautical miles. They also offer the same normal cruise speed, although the Falcon can outperform here.

The Falcon 900LX offers that bit more however, if you need it. For longer transatlantic routes, this could be significant. It can also take up to 3 extra passengers.

Also of note for the Falcon is its highest service ceiling. It is rated to 51,000 feet, compared to 41,000 feet for the Challenger. And with this, it has improved short-field performance, especially at higher elevations.

Specifications Falcon 900LX Challenger 605
Climb Rate (FPM) 2,055 4,345
Range (NM) 4.800 4,123
Takeoff Distance (feet) 5,360 5,840
Landing Distance (feet) 2,415 3,833
Max Takeoff Weights (lbs) 49,000 48,200
Service ceiling (feet) 51,000 41,000
Maximum speed (km/h) 1074 904

Lower Operating Cost for the Challenger 605

If you don’t need the extra range or capacity, then the Challenger 605 is a good option with a lower operating cost, and just two engines. In direct comparison, the Challenger has an hourly operating cost of $2,660 compared to the Falcon at $3,054.

The Challenger 605 is also more available, with a larger global fleet. There is also the slightly improved Challenger 650 model currently in production, with similar specifications but an improved cabin and flight deck.

Over 300 Challenger 605 aircraft were sold between 2007 and 2015, and as such, it frequently appears on the second-hand market. Just over 80 Falcon 900LX aircraft have been sold so far, and it remains in production.

Wider Cabin for the Challenger

Another small benefit of the Challenger 605 is a wider cabin. While the length (and hence passenger capacity) is lower, it is slightly wider. This can make a difference to the personal space or fittings offered.

Bottom Line

Both the Falcon 900LX and the Bombardier Challenger 605 are great choices in the large-cabin business jet market. The Falcon 900LX is a better choice if its longer range or higher capacity is essential. Otherwise, either will offer similar performance and experience, but the lower operating cost and the wider availability of the Challenger 605 are worth considering.

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