The development of the Challenger 600 originated from the LearStar 600 developed by American aircraft developer Bill Lear.
On November 8th of 1978, the first prototype of the Challenger first flew in Montreal, Canada. The second and third prototypes were later flown in 1979. Both Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration certified the aircraft in 1980. The jets range was later improved after implementing a program for reducing the aircraft's weight. Challengers can be identified visually by their signature fowler flap design, where the fairings can be seen below the wings, a sight much more common on commercial airliners.