The aircraft was based on the Canadair Challenger design, which was purchased by Canadair from Bill Lear in 1976.
The wide fuselage of the Challenger which seats 2 passengers on each side of the aisle suggested early on to Canadair officials that it would be straightforward to stretch the aircraft to accomomodate more seats, and there was a plan for a Challenger 610E, which would have had seating for 24 passengers. That lengthening did not occur, the effort being canceled in 1981, but the idea did not disappear.
In 1987, studies began for a much more ambitious stretched configuration, leading to the formal launch of the Canadair Regional Jet program in the spring of 1989. The "Canadair" name was retained despite the fact that Bombardier had bought out the company. The first of three development machines for the initial CRJ100 performed its first flight on 10 May 1991, though the first prototype (C-FCRJ) was lost in a spin mishap on July 26, 1993 near Wichita, Kansas. The type obtained certification in late 1992, with initial delivery to customers late in that year.
The CL-600 design was stretched 5.92 meters (19 feet 5 inches) to create the CRJ100, with fuselage plugs fore and aft of the wing, two more emergency exit doors, plus a reinforced and modified wing. Typical seating was 50 passengers, the maximum load being 52 passengers. The CRJ100 featured a Collins ProLine 4 avionics suite, Collins weather radar, GE CF34-3A1 turbofans with 41.0 kN (4,180 kgp / 9,220 lbf), new wings with extended span, more fuel capacity, and improved landing gear to handle the higher weights. It was followed by the CRJ100 ER subvariant with 20% more range, and the CRJ100 LR subvariant with 40% more range than the standard CRJ100. The CRJ 100 SE sub-variant was produced to more closely meet the needs of corporate and executive operators.
The CRJ200 is identical to the 100 model except for more efficient engines.
Pinnacle Airlines had operated some with 44 seats, designated as CRJ440, with closets in the forward areas of the passenger cabin though these were converted to 50 seat airplanes. These modifications were designed to allow operations under their major airline contract "scope clause" which restricts major airlines' connection carriers from operating equipment carrying 50 or more passengers to guard against usurpation of Air Line Pilots Association and Allied Pilots Association pilots' union contract. Similarly, Comair's fleet of 40-seat CRJ200s were sold at a discounted price to discourage Comair from purchasing the less expensive and smaller Embraer 135.
On 22 June 2003, Brit Air Flight 5672 from Nantes to Brest, France, crashed 2.3 miles short and 0.3 miles to the left of the runway when attempting a landing at Brest's airport. The aircraft's captain was the sole fatality.
On 14 October 2004, Pinnacle AirlinesFlight 3701, a Bombardier CRJ-200, crashed on a non revenue, repositioning flight from Little Rock, Arkansas to Minneapolis. The pilots attempted to climb the aircraft to its published service ceiling of 41,000 feet, exceeding the aircraft's capabilities for the existing conditions. This resulted in the flame out and possible core lock of both engines. The aircraft crashed about fifteen minutes later, in sight of the diversion airport, killing both pilots.
On 20 May 2007, an Air Canada Jazz Bombardier CRJ-100 which originated in Moncton, New Brunswick, was substantially damaged when its landing gear collapsed after landing at Toronto-Pearson International Airport, ON (YYZ). There were no injuries to any crew or passengers. Flight AC8911 departed Moncton (YQM) on a domestic flight to Toronto. The aircraft landed on runway 6 right with a 90 degree crosswind from the left, gusting from 13 to 23 knots. The aircraft first contacted the runway in a left-wing-down sideslip. The left main landing gear struck the runway first and the aircraft sustained a sharp lateral side load before bouncing. Once airborne again, the flight and ground spoilers deployed and the aircraft landed hard. Both main landing gear trunnion fittings failed and the landing gear collapsed. The aircraft remained upright, supported by the landing gear struts and wheels. The aircraft slid down the runway and exited via the Delta 3 taxiway, where the passengers deplaned. There was no fire. There were no injuries to the crew; some passengers reported minor injuries as a result of the hard landing.
On 17 March 2011, Jetlink Express Bombardier CRJ 100, flight JO 752 from Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport veered off the runway at Kisumu Airport while attempting to land in light rain and misty weather. The aircraft stopped safely a few metres from the shores of Lake Victoria. There were no fatalities.
On 6 June 2011, a SkyWest Airlines Canadair CRJ-200, flight OO 4443 (code share DL 443) from Cincinnati to Milwaukee couldn't extend right main landing gear; however, left main landing gear was extended and locked. After several failed attempts to extend the right main landing and running low on reserved fuel, airplane landed with right main gear up on runway 19R. Emergency service was on scene and no fire broke out. No injuries occurred. Runway was closed for two hours as the result.
On 5 May 2012 an Akbars Aero CRJ-200, flying from St. Petersburg to Astrakhan, Russia, made a forced landing at Voronezh airport, due to cracking of the pilot's windshield.
On 17 July 2012, a suspended SkyWest employee attempted to steal a CRJ-200 from a Utah airport. Although his security access cards had been de-activated, the employee was able to enter the jet, start it, and attempt to taxi it toward a runway. The jet hit a jetway and a building, plowed into a parking lot and came to rest when its nose gear collapsed. After crashing the plane in the parking lot, the employee shot himself in the head and died at the scene.
On 29 January 2013, SCAT Airlines Flight 760 crashed 5 km short of Almaty International airport in Kazakhstan near the village of Kyzyltu while attempting to land in bad weather conditions. 16 passengers and 5 crew died.
3-4 (2 pilots + 1-2 cabin crew)
Length Wing span Height
26.77 m (87 ft 10 in) 21.21 m (69 ft 7 in) 6.22 m (20 ft 5 in)
Wing area (net) Fuselage maximum diameter Turning circle
48.35 m2 (520.4 sq ft) 2.69 m (8 ft 10 in) 22.86 m (75 ft 0 in)
Engines (2x) Takeoff thrust (2x) Thrust APR (2x)
GE CF34-3A1 38.83 kN (8,729 lbf) 41.01 kN (9,220 lbf)
GE CF34-3B1 38.83 kN (8,729 lbf) 41.01 kN (9,220 lbf)
Max Zero Fuel Weight (ZFW)
19,958 kg (44,000 lb)
Max payload weight
6,124 kg (13,500 lb)
Max Take Off Weight (MTOW)
24,041 kg (53,000 lb)
ER: 3,000 km (1,864 mi, 1,620 nmi) LR: 3,710 km (2,305 mi, 2,003 nmi)
ER: 3,045 km (1,895 mi, 1,644 nmi) LR: 3,713 km (2,307 mi, 2,004 nmi)