November 20, 2012
By Jim Moore
The first Learjet 85 wings being moved into position by Bombardier Learjet workers at the Wichita, Kan., final assembly line. Photo courtesy Bombardier.
The Learjet 85 has taken another step toward first flight, with the arrival of the wing assembly at the Wichita, Kan., factory where Bombardier Aerospace workers will put the pieces together.
The company announced the development Nov. 19, along with word that a second test flight vehicle is nearing the final assembly stage, and static ground testing is expected to begin by the end of November.
Promising range up to 3,000 nautical miles and a top cruise speed of Mach 0.82, the jet was first announced in 2007. Production began in 2011, a collaboration of teams in Canada, Ireland, and Mexico.
The Learjet 85 will be the fastest and largest Learjet to date, with a stand-up cabin and club style seating for up to eight. It will be fitted with a Bombardier Vision Flight Deck.
A recent agreement with union machinists in Wichita ended a month-long strike that affected the Learjet assembly line.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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