Not long ago, and virtually the entire time this military and aerospace (mil/aero) geek was growing into adulthood, the word “Learjet” was used interchangeably with the phrase “business jet”.
Now aviation geeks (avgeeks) simply use the term “bizjet” but “Learjet” has been synonymous with private, luxury aircraft for decades. Historians even credit Learjet as having helped to establish Wichita, Kansas, as an aviation hub.
Bombardier Aerospace, with headquarters in Montreal, acquired Learjet Corp. in 1990 and began selling the Bombardier Learjet family of aircraft. Bombardier even extended the well-known brand by launching eight high-performance, fuel-efficient Learjet models.
The most recent, and some say the most advanced, Learjet aircraft is Bombardier’s Learjet 85. The new bizjet is the company’s first all-composite business aircraft to meet the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) airworthiness standards for transport aircraft (Part 25, Federal Aviation Regulations or FAR). Bombardier Aerospace officials describe it as “the largest, fastest, and most capable Learjet aircraft ever”.
The Learjet 85 business jet is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B engines, each capable of 6,100 pounds of take-off thrust, and features advanced low NOxemitting combustor for reduced environmental impact, a transcontinental range of roughly 3,000 nautical miles, the Bombardier Vision flight deck, and a Cabin Management System with a high-capacity Ethernet network.
Without question, aviation geeks have much to appreciate in the Learjet 85. Yet, the most exciting news about the latest Learjet is how it was designed and developed. Engineers took a novel approach to the aircraft. This mil/aero geek provides a peek behind the curtain next.