Jet Aviation was early to see the Russian business aviation boom coming and so was one of the first Western companies to take the leap of faith needed to launch operations there. Its maintenance facility at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport is approaching its fifth anniversary and now is preparing to add a fifth business jet family to its portfolio.
As progress continues on the construction of the first flight-test Bombardier Learjet 85, the airframer said this week that it sees a niche for a smaller follow-on model of the all-composite midsize jet. “I think there is an opportunity between the 75 and the 85,” Learjet vice president and general manager Ralph Acs told journalists this week during a media event. “Our entire notion all along has been that you can come up with a platform and then you spin that to other things.”
The Learjet 60XR was featured in a recent episode of National Geographic Channel’s Megafactories TV series. In this episode, the assembly of businessman David Morgan’s $14 million Learjet 60XR is highlighted to tell the story of how each business jet is assembled at the Wichita plant, as well as how Bombardier Learjet has reinvented itself to optimize production. The film crew captured how the production line runs and the technical expertise and monumental logistics behind each aircraft.
The Learjet 85, the first all-composite Part 25 business jet, remains on track for certification and entry into service next year, according to Bombardier. “Four test aircraft are in various stages of production,” the company noted, and shipment of the first pressure vessel from Bombardier’s factory in Querétaro, Mexico, to the final-assembly plant in Wichita was imminent (in mid-July). At the Querétaro factory, technicians completed construction of the first Learjet 85’s wing internal structure and the wing was moved to the final-assembly position for installation of the wing plank.
A spokesperson for the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) told AIN that the pilot of a Learjet 60 that slid off the side of Runway 15 during landing June 7 reported experiencing windhshear during the flare, resulting in the left wingtip striking the runway. Aspen winds at the time were reported as 220 deg at 10 knots, gusting to 18 knots, under clear skies.
Flexjet will be the first fractional provider to offer access to the new Bombardier Learjet 70 and Learjet 75, derivatives of the 40-series Learjets that were announced earlier this week at EBACE. Though a Flexjet spokeswoman said the number of Learjet 70/75s the frax company has on order is not yet determined, deliveries of the new twinjets are still scheduled to begin next year.
Bombardier drew a huge crowd yesterday at the EBACE show as it announced two new aircraft types in the light-midsized jet segment: the Learjet 70 and 75. “We are pleased to be building on the Learjet heritage and forecast a strong recovery in the business aviation market,” declared Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft.
Today at EBACE, Bombardier announced the Learjet 70 and 75, longer-range variant successors to the Model 40XR and 45XR. Set to enter service early next year, both jets will feature a new Bombardier Vision flight deck based on the Garmin G5000 digital avionics suite, complete with synthetic vision.
Inside, the aircraft will offer a black and white interior inherited from the Learjet 85, including new seats and an advanced cabin management system with individual pop-up touchscreen monitors. The cabins will also have LED lighting, a large baggage area and a spacious galley.
Bombardier Aerospace has made “significant progress” on its Learjet 85 program, it announced just before EBACE. Work on the two first flight-test aircraft and the complete aircraft static test article is well under way, the company said, with the production of hundreds of composite components, including the 32-foot composite fuselage.
Government officials, Bombardier Aerospace executives and other stakeholders broke ground yesterday on a $56 million, one-million-square-foot expansion at the Learjet Wichita campus.