Bombardier remains on track with Learjet 85 development
Bombardier has entered the detail-design phase in the development of its “clean-sheet” all-composite Learjet 85 and remains on track for an entry-into-service date of 2013. Once certified, the aircraft will become the first all-composite Part 25 business jet.
The detail-design phase includes building the molds (tooling) for the manufacture of composite parts, in which more than 1,500 tools are to be designed and built by the end of the year. David Coleal, vice president and general manager Learjet Business Aircraft, called the tooling process a “critical milestone” and said 2010 will be a “very big, very exciting year for the program.”
The first three phases, which included structural-design validation, technology readiness, preliminary-design review and the joint-definition phase, progressed very well, Coleal said, adding that the company completed the joint-definition phase in February. During that phase, structural-design engineers tested and inspected a large-scale composite structure based on the design of the Learjet 85.
In yet another milestone, Bombardier has become the first U.S. manufacturer to receive permission from the FAA to manufacture Category 1 and 2 aircraft parts in Mexico.
The parts will be manufactured and shipped from the company’s Queretaro, Mexico facility, where construction of the fuselage, wing and empennage, manufacture of electrical harnesses and installation of subassembly systems will take place.
At present, the Queretaro facility’s foundation and shell structure are complete. It is
to be ready for occupancy in June, and parts manufacturing should commence in July. In addition, expansion of the company’s Wichita facility, which will handle systems integration, flight test, final assembly, completions and customer delivery, is scheduled to start later this year.
The company eventually plans to build five test aircraft, two of which will be used for flight tests. The fabrication of the first flight-test aircraft will begin this year, as soon as the Queretaro facility is complete.
And although the development of the Learjet 85 will lay the groundwork for future aircraft, Bombardier has no plans to build an all-composite fleet, Coleal said. “We are very pleased with our design configurations and we have put a lot of effort into the composite strategy, but that’s not to say all aircraft will be like this in the future,” he said.
In other news, Bombardier has received a supplemental type certificate (STC), in conjunction with Honeywell, to install Primus Elite DU-875 LCD upgrades for the Global 5000, Global Express and Global Express XRS aircraft.