October 22, 2013
By Thomas A. Horne
In September, Bombardier announced that its Flexjet fractional ownership division made a historic firm order for 245 Bombardier business jets. That number included 25 Learjet 75s, 30 Learjet 85s, 20 Challenger 350s, and 10 Challenger 605s, plus options for 160 more Bombardier jets.
Today, Flexjet converted 30 Learjet 85 options into firm orders, giving the company 60 firm orders for Learjet 85s. This brings the total worth of the Learjet 85 purchases to $2.4 billion. Now Flexjet’s total firm orders have hit the 115-airplane mark, with 150 more options to buy. If all the options are exercised, the total value of the deal would be approximately $5.6 billion.
Since September, Flexjet has been purchased by Directional Aviation Capital, an exclusive operator of Bombardier business jets. And now the new owner has been investigating a new, six-seat interior configuration for its Lear 75 airplanes it calls the L75LXI. The idea is to give customers more interior space and a more modern look in terms of interior finishings and color schemes.
First flight of the 3,000-nautical-mile, Mach 0.82, all-composite Learjet 85 is expected by the end of 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.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
The FAA on Feb. 23 issued a special airworthiness information bulletin recommending preflight inspection of Robinson R44 and R44 II main rotors.
New legislation in both houses of Congress would allow thousands of pilots to fly without a third class medical and offer new protections for GA pilots.
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