This section details the Classic Challenger II Legacy, Deluxe and Premium.
The entire Challenger airframe is pre-built by the factory using triangulated aircraft-grade aluminum, the key to the airplane's unusually low weight and high strength. The airframe is shipped as a quick-build kit which includes the covering fabric and all required supplies and materials except paint.
The Challenger is for people who want to fly soon, not build for years! Assembly is straightforward and imparts a great sense of accomplishment.
In order to meet the criteria of a very strong structure that is at the same time very light in weight, the Challenger is designed with an aluminum truss-like airframe that uses a multitude of small diameter aircraft tubing, precision fitted to provide strength through triangulation.
Unlike most kits, the entire Challenger airframe - fuselage, wings and tail - is built at the factory prior to shipment. Jigs are used extensively to insure accurate alignment during the construction process. This level of precision would be very difficult to accomplish by home builders. Constructing the airframe at the factory ensures consistent quality and integrity of critical components.
The entire airframe is constructed of aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum alloy, Chromoly steel, stainless steel rivets and AN aircraft hardware. All steel weldments are fabricated entirely at the factory.
Challengers are covered with light weight Superflite aircraft fabric which has a life expectancy in the order of 20 years and great performance and looks.
The Superflite fabric for each of the tail surfaces is pre-sewn at the factory into socks or envelopes of exactly the right size and shape. The fabric for the fuselage and wings is pre-cut at the factory. This all greatly speeds and simplifies the covering process.
Superflite is adhered to the airframe loosely then heat shrunk to tautness with a household iron. The painting process consists of applying a priming layer, then a layer which protects against UV radiation, and finally the colour itself.
All Challengers are shipped as quick-build kits. The factory themselves do all the important and demanding structural work, including installing the controls.
This leaves only straightforward assembly, covering and painting to be done by the owner. No special tools or skills are required. Most people do the project in their garage or basement. This is sufficient space since the two wings remain separate and are only attached to the fuselage just before the first flight.
Articles in aviation publications such as Kitplanes have documented assembly times of less than 100 hours by first time builders. These times are very realistic for basic airplanes with Dacron sailcloth wing covering.
Canadians however order more sophisticated configurations with a full suite of options and the Superflite fabric. Even then, first timers usually take less than 300 hours to complete the assembly, covering and painting.
The fastest time on record for a fully loaded Challenger II 503 Deluxe is 172 hours, with the average being 225-275 hours. Of course your time will go up if you decide to paint a reproduction of the Mona Lisa on the tail, or the Sistine Chapel on the underside of the wings!
The Challenger is one of the simplest and quickest designs to assemble on the market. The short assembly times mean Challenger kits have an extremely high completion rate and reward the owner with a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Most other kitplanes take 800 to 2,000 hours to build - for most people this means years will pass before the first flight so they lose interest.
Once your Challenger has been completed it only takes a half hour or so to remove or reinstall the wings for storage or trailering.
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