We used flaps eight for takeoff, and speeds were V1, 115; Vr, 118; V2, 128. After lining up on the centerline, the thrust levers are pushed three clicks to the takeoff thrust setting, and the single DEEC (digital electronic engine control) takes care of refining the power setting for the day's temperature and pressure altitude. All you do is monitor the engines for exceedences, and drive. Acceleration was brisk even at our weight. Nosewheel steering on takeoff takes some finesse to make it smooth for the passengers, but V1 and rotation come quickly. Rotation forces are surprisingly high for a small jet, but this makes proper pitch attitude easy to establish for initial climb; the aircraft just stays put. Roll rates are a little heavier than on earlier Lears, though the initial breakout forces in roll are quite light.
I hand-flew the jet during the climb with numerous excursions to get the feel of the aircraft. ATC was smiling on us and allowed an unrestricted climb to FL 430. In spite of my maneuvering and not caring if I climbed consistently on schedule, we reached FL 430 in 19 minutes; we could have reached this altitude without leveling off even at max weight. Once there, with ISA -4 degrees outside, the aircraft accelerated to Mach .80 and fuel flow was around 1,100 pounds per hour. I performed steep turns and purposely loaded the wing a bit to feel the low rumble of airflow separation, noting that the low-speed airspeed "foot" on the primary flight display was never very close to our indicated airspeed; this indicates a comfortable margin above stall. Again, this added to my warm, fuzzy, comfortable feeling flying the Lear 45.
To demonstrate the impressive pressurization system, Chris set one engine at MCT and pulled the other engine back to idle at Flight Level 430; the cabin didn't even flinch. He then turned off the bleed air to the engine he had pulled back. Again, the cabin pressurization didn't seem to care. So he turned all engine and wing bleed air on, further taxing the bleed air system, and the cabin was still stable. That's impressive, and it's partly a result of the airplane having passed stringent certification requirements for operation at Flight Level 510. Though you probably won't regularly spend much time at FL 510, the capability is there when you are light (below 16,500 pounds or so). Realistically, the stringent requirements for FL 510 certification translate into a more robust pressurization system, with stronger cabin doors and a better emergency oxygen system.
In the real world, you will probably fly this aircraft routinely in the middle 40s, and it's very capable of climbing straight to FL 430 or FL 450 at max weight. Once there, the aircraft will turn in a solid Mach .78 to .80 on about a thousand pounds of fuel per hour, depending on temperature. Climbing to FL 470, our fuel flow dropped to 1,047 pounds per hour total, or approximately 156 gallons per hour.
First landing was at about 18,300 pounds, and the aircraft made me look good with the forgiving trailing-link landing gear. Approach speeds were initially 119 knots and lowered to 117 knots as we circled Wichita's pattern, doing multiple touch-and-goes. Single-engine departure, approach and landing were nonevents due to the excess climb performance of the aircraft. Rudder pressure with the engine pulled back was light, and I trimmed very little to compensate for the missing thrust. What an enjoyable airplane to fly.
The Lear 45XR is an impressive combination of range, economy, load-carrying capability, comfort and price. It's a solid, mature design that offers a lot of bang for the buck in the "super-light" segment of the market shared with the Citation XLS. From a pilot's perspective, it's simple and comfortable to fly and a very capable jet that makes the pilot look good because of all the missions it will accomplish with aplomb. It's easy to see why pilots, companies and individual owners love this Swiss Army knife of jets.