NBAA Convention News

Learjet 60 aft locker flies into final design stage

 - October 14, 2009, 6:13 AM

Raisbeck Engineering of Seattle, Wash. (Booth No. 2273), has just finished initial flight testing of a composite, aerodynamic shape representing an in-development, aft-fuselage locker for the Learjet 60/60XR and is showing it here in Orlando. The flight testing of the locker shape, completed last month, confirmed that it creates no additional drag or performance penalties when installed on the aircraft. Here at NBAA, attendees can view the full-size locker mockup next to the Learjet 60 that Bombardier is showing on static display at Orlando Executive Airport.

Flight testing of the aerodynamic locker shape on a 1994 Learjet 60–N647EF, provided by charter operator Executive Flight at Pangborn Airport, Wenatchee, Wash.–began on August 17 and continued through mid-September, accumulating some 50 hours. Raisbeck chief test pilot Pete Reynolds, former vice president of flight test for Bombardier Aerospace, conducted the tests.

According to a spokesperson, Reynolds, a consultant to Raisbeck, also performed all the flights for the Learjet 31/35-series aft-fuselage locker and Raisbeck ZR Lite programs. Executive Flight, which operates a fleet of Learjet 35s and 31s, an FBO and a full-service maintenance facility, became an authorized Raisbeck Learjet dealer in May.

Company engineers are now at work on the final design of the Learjet 60 locker, with plans to flight test it early next year on an aircraft possibly provided by Bombardier, said the spokesperson. First customer delivery of the locker is scheduled for the fourth quarter of next year. Said Davud Kasparov, Raisbeck aerodynamicist and engineer, “This is the first program–for which we used our new in-house computational fluid dynamics capability–that we’ve approved for go-ahead to FAA certification. We are pleased to see the flight testing confirmed our design goals.” The spokesperson said engineers hope the final locker design will provide an actual reduction in drag, not just no additional drag.

While similar in design to the Learjet 31/35 aft-fuselage locker, the Learjet 60 locker is longer (24 feet versus 18 feet) and larger (25 cu ft of cargo space versus 11 cu ft). Both lockers fit the contours of the aft fuselage; have a 300-pound capacity; are neither pressurized nor heated; and are designed to carry outsized cargo, like golf bags, fishing poles and skis, thus freeing up space in the cabin. A system of straps and footman loops secures the cargo. The locker slides out to the left of the fuselage to provide easy access and its lid is spring-loaded open. A two-hook latch and two external rotating latches secure the locker, providing triple redundancy. According to the company, “These latches provide a triply-redundant, fail-safe means of ensuring the locker cannot open, except through multiple steps and conscious action by the ground operator.”

“Our engineering and marketing folks have once again teamed up to satisfy a real need in the business-jet marketplace,” said James Raisbeck, company president and CEO. “I expect this to be one of the smoothest and most productive of our locker series, both on the Learjet and King Air models.”

The list price of the Raisbeck aft-fuselage lockers for both the Learjet 31/31A and 35/35A/36/36A is $103,904 (not including shipping, installation and paint) and installation time for both series of lockers is estimated at 150 hours. The Learjet 60 lockers will cost about $175,000, said the spokesperson. If a customer opts to include with the installation of a locker the ZR Lite Performance System for either a Lear 31-series ($93,024) or a 35-series ($119,136), then the company offers a “combo” discount of about $25,000.

The ZR Lite Performance System, which provides reduced time-to-climb, increased range and higher initial-cruise altitude, is not yet available on the 60, but the company is looking into developing it. “We have limited resources and have to tackle one project at a time,” the spokesperson said.