Bombardier's Learjet 85 completes first flight

The Learjet 85, featuring a composite fuselage molded out-of-autoclave in Mexico, and composite wings molded via infusion in Ireland, flew for the first time on April 9.

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Bombardier Aerospace (Montréal, Quebec, Canada) reported on April 9 that that its Learjet 85 aircraft successfully completed its first flight, achieving a major milestone in a business aircraft development program. This first flight marks the start of the Learjet 85 aircraft’s flight test program leading up to the first customer delivery.

The Learjet 85 flight test vehicle one (FTV1) was flown by Captain Ed Grabman, Chief Flight Test Pilot, Bombardier Flight Test Center; assisted by his co­pilot, Jim Dwyer; and Flight Test Engineer Nick Weyers. The flight departed from Wichita­-Mid Continent International Airport at 8:19 am CST on April 9.

During its maiden flight, which lasted approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, the Learjet 85 aircraft reached an altitude of 30,000 ft/9,144m) and an air speed of 250 knots/463 kmh/287 mph. All flight controls were exercised with the systems and aircraft performing as expected.

“The first flight of the Learjet 85 aircraft was a very proud and thrilling moment for all Bombardier employees,” says Éric Martel, president, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “Incredible hard work and dedication from our people went into this aircraft development program. This includes our sites in Wichita, Querétaro and Montréal, as well as our facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We are all very excited to see this new aircraft, the fastest and most spacious Learjet aircraft, take to the skies, and we look forward to a very successful flight test program.”

Bombardier employees along with suppliers were on hand at the Bombardier Wichita facility to celebrate this milestone flight and greet the Learjet 85 aircraft and test flight crew upon landing.

The Learjet 85 aircraft will be the largest, fastest and most capable Learjet aircraft ever. It features autoclave-cured and infused carbon fiber composite wings, and a composite fuselage manufactured out-of-autoclave (OOA). (See link at right for more composites information.) The jet is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B engines, each boasting 6,100 pounds of take­off thrust at sea level up to 86°F/30°C and low noise levels, while the advanced low NOx emitting combustor offers reduced environmental impact. The aircraft targets a high­-speed cruise of Mach 0.82 and a transcontinental range of approximately 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 km).