Learjet Presses On With Its Model 85

As if in response to signals of an improved market, Bombardier announced at EBACE that development is continuing apace on its all-composite Learjet 85. This despite other manufacturers recently announcing slowdowns-if not worse-in their new-jet programs. The Learjet 85 program is currently in its joint definition phase, with certification and first deliveries scheduled for 2013. The all-new-aircraft project was challenged when Grob, Bombardier's European partner on Model 85 development, experienced financial collapse. Grob had been responsible for composite development. The Learjet 85 would be the first all-composite jet certified under Part 25 (the Hawker Beechcraft Premier line is certified under Part 23). Bombardier filled that void by acquiring the Queretaro Aerospace Park in Mexico to develop and fabricate the Learjet 85's composite structure. Bombardier in Montreal will handle structural detail design while Learjet's Wichita headquarters will be responsible for systems integration, flight test, final assembly, completions and customer deliveries. Bombardier reports it has close to 60 Learjet 85s on order at a price of $17.2 million (2008 dollars).