Learjet 85 Back on Track

Its composite jet sidelined by Grob's bankruptcy, Learjet has the airframe in house and says it's back on track.

Learjet Model 85

At a web-based press conference officials of Bombardier's Learjet division gave a progress report on the status of the company's Learjet 85 all-composite midsize bizjet. If it succeeds, the 85 would be the first all-composite business jet to earn certification under Part 25.

The program, however, appeared to be at risk with the failure of primary partner German airplane builder Grob late last year coupled with the global economic downturn.

Not so, says Bombardier. At the web conference company officials emphatically reconfirmed their commitment to the 85 program. It would, it said, take the airframe work in-house, designing the structure in Montreal and constructing the airframe components at the site of its existing plant in Queretaro, Mexico, where it already has two buildings and plans to build three more to accommodate work on the 85. Final assembly will be done in Wichita.

The new model will compete with traditional midsize bizjets while offering a projected 3,000 nm range and an impressive top cruise speed of Mach .82. Certification and first deliveries are on track, Bombardier said, for early 2013.