The 50th anniversary of the first flight of the first Learjet, the Model 23, on Oct. 7, 1963, begged to be celebrated and Bombardier obliged with gusto, holding two events at the company’s main assembly facility in Wichita on October 4 and 5 and inviting current and former employees and their families, a few special guests and owners and operators who brought examples of almost every Learjet production model. Only the Learjet 55 was absent, as the aircraft planned for the celebration could not make it at the last minute.
Learjet spent a good part of yesterday celebrating the “start of the delivery process” of its new Learjet 75. The first aircraft went to business entrepreneur Louis Beck and his Speedbird LCC. Beck, present at the delivery ceremonies, expressed satisfaction with the acquisition. He is a long-time Learjet owner and said he had never heard a pilot complain about Speedbird’s previous aircraft, a Learjet 45. And he added, “there’s also the unmistakable sex appeal that is Learjet.” The second delivery was five Learjet 75s to Canada-based charter operator London Air Services.
This month Bombardier commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Learjet’s first flight even as the company struggles to launch a larger new flagship, the Model 85, and switch to composite airframe construction. Since 1963, Learjet has become one of the world’s most iconic brands, often generically misused to describe any make/model of private jet, and a conspicuous sign of affluence. Early Learjet owners included crooner Frank Sinatra and industrialist Louise Timken, and their aircraft were a far cry from the comfortable cabins of today.
Bombardier apparently held a private “production rollout” of the all-composite Learjet 85 on September 7 at its Wichita facility, according to a YouTube video posted about a week after the event but removed yesterday shortly after AIN’s inquiry. A Bombardier Business Aircraft spokesman said he could not authenticate the video, even though it appears to have been professionally produced and includes titles with logos and typefaces, as well as music, consistent with other Bombardier-produced videos.
TAG Engineering Le Bourget has joined Bombardier’s authorized service facility (ASF) network as an authorized line maintenance facility. The MRO is now able to provide line- and base-level maintenance services for the Learjet 60, Learjet 60XR, Challenger 300, Challenger 605, Global Express, Global Express XRS and Global 5000 as well as Global 5000 and Global 6000 equipped with the Bombardier Vision flight deck. It is the only Bombardier ASF at Le Bourget.
Aviation Fabricators (AvFab) recently received supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for its two-place divan for the Learjet 60. The company has similar approvals for the Learjet 55, 55B, and 55C.
The two-place divan adds passenger space while giving the cabin a larger, more open look. The divan is available as either right or left side facing, and armrests, drawer and close-out panels are available options. Armrests can be added to either end of the divan.
Brazilian aviation services giant Líder Aviação has announced it is the new “exclusive representative” in Brazil for Canadian business jet manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace.
Bombardier Aerospace’s revenues in the second quarter were flat year-over-year at about $2.3 billion, with more than half of these revenues–$1.259 billion–coming from its business aircraft division. Pre-tax earnings at the company rose by $8 million, to $107 million, while its backlog as of June 30 climbed to $33.4 billion, up from $32.9 billion at the end of last year.
The FAA is adopting an airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Learjet 60s. The AD was prompted by a report of a high-speed rejected takeoff caused by all four main landing gear (MLG) tires blowing out during the takeoff roll.
Duncan Aviation has entered into an agreement with Safran Power UK & Safran Power USA, naming the MRO the exclusive worldwide distributor of Safran Power UK and Safran Power USA’s replacement starter generator specifically designed for the Learjet 60. Duncan Aviation will house unit inventories on site at its Lincoln, Neb. facility and is ready to send shipments worldwide. According to Duncan Aviation, the Learjet 60 starter generator is a direct STC replacement that is “more reliable and simple to install with no required aircraft modification.”