Learjet 85 bizjet exits design review, goes into production

With critical design review of the Learjet 85 complete, fabrication of composite fuselage and other structures has begun in Kansas, Québec, Northern Ireland and Mexico.

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Bombardier Aerospace (Montréal, Québec, Canada) on Oct. 9 announced that production of its new Learjet 85 aircraft had officially begun, following the program’s successful exit from the Aircraft Level Critical Design Review. Development and production teams in Wichita, Kan.; Montréal, Québec; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Querétaro, Mexico, are engaged in the manufacturing-validation phase.

“We have made solid progress,” said Ralph Acs, VP and general manager, Learjet, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “Our manufacturing sites are ready, production has begun, we have been successfully building parts, and we are ensuring that all quality standards are met for the Learjet 85 aircraft’s entry into service in 2013.”

The Querétaro site is operational, with production tooling in place. To date, several test fuselages and key elements of the composite structure have been produced at the facility to validate the manufacturing and assembly processes. In addition, a full-length composite fuselage has been assembled, and production of the first flight-test aircraft is underway.

In Wichita, the first phase of expansion is complete and the site is ready for the start of final assembly. Phase two of the expansion plan, which includes building a new production flight facility, is scheduled to begin in 2012, while phase three — the paint facility and new delivery center — is on track for completion in 2013.

Production of wing spars and planks using Resin Transfer Infusion (RTI) technology was successfully launched at the Belfast site in spring 2011. Several sets of spars are now complete, and shipments to the Querétaro site, where wing assembly will take place, have begun.
The Learjet 85 aircraft program supply base has started the fabrication of parts, and is on track. Approximately 40 percent of the dedicated supplier test rigs are already operational, running their respective systems prior to shipment to the final line. As part of Bombardier’s technology-readiness program, more than 12,000 test pieces have been produced to date. Further, the first Federal Aviation Admin. (FAA) structural certification test project was successfully completed this summer.