The Bombardier Challenger 350 and Embraer Legacy 500 are two evenly matched private jets. However, the narrative of this comparison follows that of the Challenger 350 versus the Praetor 600. After all, the Legacy 500 is the predecessor of the Praetor 600.
However, given that in terms of deliveries the Challenger 350 is more popular than the Legacy 500, which one is truly better?
Since production started in 2014, over 350 units have been delivered of the Challenger 350. On the other hand, in the nine years of production (2011 to 2020), Embraer only delivered just over 80 Legacy 500 aircraft.
The Bombardier Challenger 350 is powered by two Honeywell HTF7350 turbofan engines. Each engine is capable of producing 7,323 lbf of thrust.
In comparison, the Embraer Legacy 500 is powered by two Honeywell HTF7500E engines. Each one is capable of producing 7,036 lbf of thrust.
Straight away it is important to note that the Legacy 500 is down on power compared with the Challenger, albeit only slightly.
Despite this, both aircraft are able to cruise at a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet, with the Legacy having a higher cruise speed. The Legacy 500 is able to cruise at 466 knots – the same as its successor, the Praetor 600.
In comparison, the Bombardier Challenger 350 runs out of steam when it gets to 448 knots.
Much like when comparing the Challenger 350 to the Praetor 600, this difference is unlikely to be noticed in the real world. This is because of two key reasons.
The first reason is that the speed difference isn’t really that significant. Over the course of 1,000 nautical miles the Legacy 500 will save you around 5 minutes over the Challenger. Ultimately, while it is always beneficial to save time, this is very minor.
The second reason is that private jets don’t always fly at their maximum cruise speed. Depending on required range, efficiency, weather conditions and more, aircraft need to be flown as is appropriate for the mission. Therefore, there are cases where both aircraft will likely cruise at similar speeds on most missions. There will not always be an eighteen knot difference in speed.
The Challenger 350 is able to fly further than the Legacy 500 without needing to refuel. The Challenger 350 has a maximum range of 3,200 nautical miles. Therefore, the Challenger can fly 75 nautical miles on a single tank than the Legacy 500.
If you are interested in how much it costs to fuel a private jet, check out this article.
When comparing the range of the Challenger 350 with other aircraft (see versus the Challenger 650 and Praetor 600), the example of this range is the distance from New York to London. Important to note is that this is in optimal weather conditions with very few passengers. Therefore, in some, if not most cases, this flight will be a struggle on a regular charter flight.
Again, will this difference in range be noticeable in the real world? Probably not. It is highly unlikely that there is a route that the Legacy 500 can’t fly but the Challenger 350 can. A difference of 75 nautical miles is so minor that it is hard to provide a clear victory for the Challenger. However, it is a victory nonetheless. The Challenger 350 can fly further than the Legacy 500.
When it comes to the minimum runway distance required for these aircraft to operate, the Legacy 500 beats the Challenger. But only just.
The Embraer Legacy 500 requires a minimum runway distance of 4,084 feet for take off. On the other hand the Challenger 350 requires a minimum take off distance of 4,835 feet.
When it comes to landing the Challenger 350 requires at least 2,364 feet of runway. The Legacy 500 is able to just beat this with a minimum landing distance of 2,122 feet.
On the inside the Legacy 500 is somewhat longer than the Challenger 350. The Challenger is then able to reduce the Legacy’s lead by having a slightly wider cabin. Both aircraft have the same cabin height.
In terms of actual numbers, the Legacy 500 cabin is 8.32 meters long while the Challenger’s cabin is 7.68 meters long.
In regards to interior width, the Challenger 350 has a cabin width of 2.19 meters while the Legacy 500’s cabin is 2.08 meters wide. Both aircraft have a cabin height of 1.83 meters which is just over six feet.
Therefore, most passengers will be able to comfortably stand up and move around the cabin.
Considering which option is better it ultimately comes down to you mission profile. Some passengers prefer a wider cabin as it provides more shoulder room, wider seats and a wider aisle.
Conversely a longer cabin results in greater seat recline and more seats. Ultimately it will come down to the number of passengers that are in the cabin. However, if it is a low number (say two or three), then a wider cabin would typically be preferable.
The Embraer Legacy 500 is able to carry up to twelve passengers thanks to its long cabin. Conversely the Challenger 350 is able to carry up to 10 passengers.
When it comes to maximum cabin altitude the Challenger 350 comes in with a maximum cabin altitude of 7,848 feet. On the other hand the Legacy 500 has a maximum cabin altitude of just 5,800 feet.
This is an important metric as a lower cabin altitude will result in a more pleasant cabin atmosphere and reduce the effects of jet lag.
The Challenger 350 features exceptional craftsmanship, carefully selected finishes, large windows and angled touch screens. Optionally experience Ka-band and 4g air-to-ground internet. This allows you to stream music, watch movies & participate in video conferences.
Flying the Challenger 350 gives you the ability to control the cabin from the comfort of every seat. The cabin management system of the 350 has been inspired by Bombardier’s flagship aircraft – the Global 7500. The cabin management system allows you to connect to your personal devices with a super simple user interface.
Conversely, the Legacy 500 features furniture-like design fully reclining seats. This provides passengers with superior comfort. All seats are optimally placed next to windows in order to afford every passenger spectacular views of the world below.
At the front of the cabin you will, as is common, find the galley. The Legacy 500’s wet galley serves as an elegant, welcoming entryway to the aircraft. At the time of conception the galley was the largest in the midsize segment. Therefore making this the perfect aircraft for paramount dining.
Plenty of space and functionality can be attributed to the stowable tables which open flush to the side ledge. This, in tandem with the functional galley, make the Legacy 500 cabin the perfect place to work, dine and relax.
Bombardier Challenger 350 Interior
Embraer Legacy 500 Interior
The hourly charter price of a private jet is a deciding factor for many customers. However, please note that there are many factors that affect the hourly charter price of a private jet.
The Legacy 500 has an estimated hourly charter price of $4,550. The Challenger 350, on the other hand, has an estimated hourly charter price of $4,950.
This difference is so minor that in many cases the final charter prices will likely be very similar.
The list price of a new Bombardier Challenger 350 is $26 million. Of course, this is before any options have been selected. Additionally, Bombardier provide an online configurator, allowing customers to design their ideal aircraft.
However, the new price of an Embraer Legacy 500 is just $18.4 million. However, Embraer have ended production of the Legacy line of aircraft (replacing them with the Praetor 500 and Praetor 600). Therefore, the Legacy 500 cannot be purchased new.
So, which is best? The Bombardier Challenger 350 or the Embraer Legacy 500?
This is an especially tough comparison to make, mainly due to the similarities in hourly charter price. But also due to the similarity in range and performance.
If chartering it will ultimately come down to availability. Both are capable of flying similar missions. Both are luxurious and efficient.
However, the Challenger 350 has the advantage of being a more modern aircraft than the Legacy 500. This is perfectly illustrated by the fact that Embraer no longer produce the Legacy.