NBAA Convention News

Learjet 85 is halfway through its detailed design phase

 - October 20, 2010, 1:46 PM

Progress on design and parts fabrication are among the Learjet 85 development milestones Bombardier Aerospace highlighted at NBAA.

The detailed design phase for the composite jet is now 50 percent complete and parts manufacturing is under way at Bombardier sites and suppliers’ facilities worldwide. More than 150 composite tools have been delivered, and seven supplier test rigs commissioned. Bombardier currently has more than 1,000 people working on the Learjet 85 program.

“We’re fabricating all over the world; we have well over forty suppliers,” said Ralph Acs, vice president, Learjet 85, calling the use of a global supply chain “best practices at Bombardier.”

The 10-passenger, midsize Learjet 85 will be Bombardier’s first jet built primarily from composite material and the first primarily composite structure business jet designed for FAA Part 25 type certification. (Hawker Beechcraft’s Premier/Hawker 200 series and Hawker 4000 composite-fuselage jets have a metal wing and empennage.) Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B engines, the Learjet 85 is projected to have a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82 and a range of up to 3,000 nm. The aircraft, priced at $18.25 million, is scheduled to enter service in 2013.

The first two Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion system integrated test stations (Sits) began formal integration testing in September. The Sits, a static representation of the cockpit that includes actual displays, controls, panels and avionics computers, allows testing of system integration, pilot and maintenance personnel training, production support and certification.

Development of manufacturing sites and expansion of the final assembly site in Wichita are on schedule. “Final line assembly starts next year,” Acs said.

The fuselage is being made at the Bombardier plant in Queretaro, Mexico. The one-piece pressure vessel reduces parts count versus metal aircraft dramatically, “one of the benefits of composites,” Acs said. A new building in Queretaro for Learjet parts fabrication is being inaugurated today.