Bombardier updates Learjet 85 development program

The all-composite Learjet 85 will use more than 1,500 composite tools; composite readiness testing is progressing as planned and Bombardier's Queretaro, Mexico, facility will begin production in July.

Bombardier Aerospace (Montréal, Quebec, Canada) on May 4 reported progress on its Learjet 85 program development. Having successfully exited the Joint Definition Phase in February, Bombardier Learjet is now working with more than 40 suppliers worldwide in the detail design phase.

Composite tooling manufacturing for the first aircraft and composite readiness testing are progressing as planned, and on March 30, 2010, the Queretaro, Mexico, manufacturing facility was granted U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permission for parts conformity. All aircraft performance objectives continue to be achieved and the program is on schedule for entry into service in 2013.

“The Learjet 85 aircraft program is on track, and 2010 will be a very exciting year, as we release over 6,000 detail drawings, build over 1,500 tools, commission our Mexico factory and begin production,” said Ralph Acs, Vice President, Learjet 85, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “The system design has matured and its installation and integration are on target. Construction on our Mexico factory is progressing rapidly and we will begin manufacturing components in the new facility this summer.”

A significant portion of the composite tooling manufacturing process for the production of the first Learjet 85 aircraft is under way, and will be completed before the end of this year. More than 1,500 tools will be designed and built as part of this process. With authorization granted by the FAA, Bombardier is now the first aircraft manufacturer in the U.S. to achieve permission to manufacture Category 1 and 2 aircraft parts in Mexico, an important milestone, as production of the first Learjet 85 aircraft parts will begin this year.

The first three stages of composite technology readiness, parallel learning and testing activities to validate the implementation of new technologies on the platform, were successfully completed. The process, now in its fourth stage, is progressing as planned and will continue through 2010.

Construction and readiness of manufacturing and assembly facilities for the Learjet 85 aircraft are also progressing according to plan. In Queretaro, the building’s foundation and shell structure are complete, and the facility will be ready for occupancy in June, with parts manufacturing set to begin in July. Expansion plans at the Wichita, Kan., USA, facilities, which will regroup all operations from assembly to delivery of the Learjet 85 aircraft, are set to start towards the end of 2010.

Launched on Oct. 30, 2007, the new Learjet 85 aircraft will be the first Bombardier Aerospace jet to feature an all-composite structure and will be the first all-composite structure business jet designed for type certification under U.S. Federal Aviation Administration FAR Part 25.
The Learjet 85 aircraft’s all-composite structure will allow Learjet aircraft designers to maximize cabin comfort while minimizing drag and improving performance. The jet is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B engines, each boasting 6,100 lb of take-off thrust each. The Learjet 85 aircraft targets a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82 and a transcontinental range of up to 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 km).