System Integration Issues Stalling Learjet 85 Program
During Bombardier’s 2013 financial results conference call this morning, president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin provided some insight into the delays affecting the all-composite Learjet 85 program, which had originally been slated to enter service in 2013. Last year, Bombardier revised this to projected first flight of the first flight test vehicle, FTV1, by year-end 2013, though the midsize jet still has yet to fly. Certification and entry into service were also moved to mid-2014 earlier last year, but that timeline will undoubtedly have to be once again pushed farther right into the future.
During today’s call, Beaudoin said, “The delay right now is more on system integration.” FTV1, he added, “is essentially completed, and it’s the typical thing before we go to first flight, making sure that all the systems are responding the way they should. There have been some adjustments here and there that we’ve had to do before we present the aircraft to the FAA. Now we’re very close to presenting the aircraft, and then after that it’s days or a few weeks before we go to first flight.”
Beaudoin explained that the company will release a new timeline after “a period” of flight-testing. With regard to the challenges of certifying the first Part 25 composite business jet, he said, “This is technology that we understand and we can move forward toward production at this point.”