Bombardier’s Learjet 85 program is moving toward first flight (if it hasn’t already happened after this issue went to press), but the company’s plans to achieve certification and begin customer deliveries this year appear to be unachievable.
The Raisbeck aft fuselage locker for the Learjet 60 has completed all of the FAA-required certification tests, the company said yesterday. The test aircraft, S/N 60-197, is now in refurbishment at West Star Aviation, where it will receive a full paint job and interior update before redelivery to its owner. Raisbeck’s Learjet 60 aft fuselage locker adds 30 cu ft of storage space and closely resembles its earlier lockers designed and certified for 30-series Learjets.
Berlin-based Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS) opened its new line service operation in Zurich, Switzerland, on February 20. Following a two-day review by German aviation officials acting on behalf of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the facility was cleared to begin operations. ExecuJet Europe has partnered with LBAS to offer line maintenance support for Bombardier business jets, including the Learjet 40, 45 and 60, as well as the Challenger series and Global Express, XRS, Global 5000 and Global 6000.
Trisoft Covers, based in Sarasota, Fla., has developed foam protective panels for Learjet delta fins. The lightweight panels are designed to protect not only the airframe but also workers, who have been known to bang their heads on the ventral-mounted surfaces. Made of sun-, heat- and cold-resistant XLPE foam, the panels protect the aircraft surfaces from dropped tools, flashlights, spray cans and other hazards. The kits are intended for indoor use only, and include panels and clamps. Cost is $655.95 for the Learjet 31 and 45, and $965.95 for the Learjet 60.
The Learjet 85 is one step closer to beginning its flight-testing phase after the announcement yesterday by Bombardier that the FAA issued the jet’s first flight-test permit. Engineers have run flight test vehicle 1’s (FTV1) Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307Bs and completed low-speed taxi testing. Before the first flight, preparations will include finalizing “the configuration of the aircraft, more engine runs and high-speed taxi tests,” according to Bombardier.
Bombardier announced it will be adding interior refurbishment capabilities to the line and heavy maintenance offered at its new, wholly owned service center at Seletar Airport in Singapore. The OEM has selected Ontario-based Flying Colours to provide interior refurbishment services in Singapore to Learjet, Challenger and Global customers.
Bombardier Aerospace’s business jet division accounted for the bulk of net orders and deliveries last year at the company, according to full-year 2013 results released today. The company delivered 238 aircraft (180 business jets and 58 airliners) last year, up from 233 (179 business jets and 54 airliners) in 2012, boosting revenues by 11 percent, to $18.2 billion, and profits by $87 million, to $893 million. It expects to deliver 280 aircraft–200 business jets and 80 airliners–this year.
During Bombardier’s 2013 financial results conference call this morning, president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin provided some insight into the delays affecting the all-composite Learjet 85 program, which had originally been slated to enter service in 2013. Last year, Bombardier revised this to projected first flight of the first flight test vehicle, FTV1, by year-end 2013, though the midsize jet still has yet to fly. Certification and entry into service were also moved to mid-2014 earlier last year, but that timeline will undoubtedly have to be once again pushed farther right into the future.
The Malaysia Department of Civil Aviation has given repair station approval to the Bombardier Aircraft Service Center in Singapore. The facility is Bombardier’s tenth factory-owned service center and, with the Amsterdam, Netherlands facility, the second outside North America.
The Singapore facility, which entered service at the end of last year, will be inaugurated during the Singapore Airshow.
Bombardier Aerospace delivered 180 business jets last year, up one from 2012. However, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer missed its 2013 guidance by 10 business airplanes, “mainly due to the transition from the Learjet 40XR and Learjet 45XR to the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75, which entered service in the fourth quarter.” The company originally expected deliveries of these revamped light jets to start in the third quarter. It shipped 29 Learjets, 89 Challengers and 62 Globals last year, compared with 39 Learjets, 86 Challengers and 54 Globals in 2012.