July 21, 2009
By Thomas A. Horne
Bombardier says that its Learjet 85 project is humming right along.
“We have completed more than 60 significant program milestones as proof points to our progress,” said Ralph Acs vice president of the Learjet 85 team.
Two proof-of-concept fuselages have been built in Bombardier’s Montreal facilities; the design of the fuselage outside mold has been frozen, and wing development is progressing steadily as a proof-of-concept wing demonstrator is under way. The wing design, Bombardier says, benefits from the company’s experience with composite wing-build techniques learned in the development of its C-series, 110- to 130-seat airliners. So far, 30 major suppliers have been contracted and are active in the airplane’s joint definition phase. This phase finalizes the structure of the airplane.
Ramp-up and construction of assembly sites in Queretaro, Mexico (primary structure and pre-assembly), and Wichita, Kan., (final assembly and delivery) is also in progress, and more than 60 employees have completed training in composites technology and application, Bombardier adds.
The all-composite, Mach 0.82, 3,000-nm, $13-million eight-seat jet is set for certification in late 2012 or early 2013.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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