Bombardier is leveraging its developing expertise in composite wing construction at its Belfast, Ireland facility to manufacture major wing structure for the Learjet 85. Belfast has been manufacturing major composite structures for many years and begins production of composite wings for the new C Series airliner this year. Last year, the Belfast facility fabricated a pre-production demonstrator wing for the C Series. That wing was tested to ultimate load, according to Bombardier, “replicating 150 percent of the most severe forces the wing is ever likely to experience in service.” The Learjet 85 spar and wing skin panels will be made in Belfast then shipped to Bombardier’s Querétaro, Mexico, factory for final assembly of the wing. From there, airframe structure will be shipped to Wichita for final assembly, paint and flight testing.
Bombardier is using a resin transfer infusion (RTI) process to manufacture composite structure in Belfast. RTI reduces cycle times and requires fewer materials. Instead of curing resin-impregnated composite fabrics on hard tooling, RTI employs dry fabrics installed inside a mould that replicates the structure. After the component is placed into an autoclave, resin is inserted into the mold, coating the fabric, then the component is baked at specific temperatures and pressures.
The Learjet 85 program remains on schedule for entry into service in 2013, and it will be the first all-composite Part 25 business jet ever certified. Power is provided by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B turbofans and avionics are a Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion-based Bombardier Global Vision suite.