Bombardier Aerospace has reported work on the first two Learjet 85 flight test aircraft and the complete aircraft static test article is well underway, with the production of hundreds of composite components, including the unique 32-foot composite pressure fuselage.
The joining of the nose fuselage to the main pressure fuselage, as well as the assembly of the aft fuselage, vertical stabilizer and tailcone fuselage sections, have all begun at the Bombardier sites in Wichita, Kansas and Queretaro, Mexico.
The first shipments of wing spars and skins, manufactured at Bombardier’s site in Belfast, Northern Ireland, have arrived at the Queretaro site, where wing assembly has already started.
Additionally, major supplier components, such as the aircraft’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B engines, are now on site at the final assembly line in Wichita.
A ground breaking ceremony on April 30th 2012 marked the official start of the next phase of the Learjet Wichita site expansion plan, which includes building a new production flight facility, paint facilities and a new delivery centre to support the Learjet 85 aircraft.
“We are entering an exciting phase of the program,” said Ralph Acs, vice president and general manager, Learjet, Bombardier Business Aircraft.
“Our sites are moving full speed ahead and the production of the first flight test aircraft is progressing very well.
“We have solid momentum in all areas and it’s great to see the focus and commitment of our Bombardier employees and suppliers worldwide as we assemble our first test aircraft and prepare for first flight.”
Initial bird strike development testing on the Learjet 85 aircraft has been successfully achieved, and over 85 per cent of the system supplier safety of flight (SOF) test rigs have been commissioned.
The Learjet 85 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B engines, each boasting 6,100 pounds of take-off thrust at sea level up to 86 degrees F (30 degrees 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 up to 3,000 nautical miles.
The aircraft’s Cabin Management System, developed by Lufthansa Technik, will feature a high-capacity Ethernet network, a digital amplifier to feed the high-fidelity speaker system and an interface to support the aircraft cabin environment, including lighting and temperature control.
The system’s open architecture also allows for easy integration of third-party equipment and new applications, such as high-definition features.
Bombardier Aerospace acquired Learjet Inc. in 1990.