Historic Learjet 28 Flies Again
The first Learjet 28 Longhorn (serial number 28-001) cruised at 50,000 feet somewhere between Allentown, Pa., and Mattoon, Ill., when the thought hit me. Neil Armstrong, the first man who walked on the moon, had flown this same airplane and here I was riding in the cabin.
It was on February 19 and 20, 1979, when Armstrong, then a professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering (and a member of the Gates Learjet Corp. board of directors) and Learjet test pilot Pete Reynolds set five Federation Aeronautique Internationale and National Aeronautics Association class records, while flying 28-001, then a Learjet prototype.
In the cockpit of the 28 (N128LR) sat two professional, Part 135 pilots, Jim Dinan and Matt Dietz. Phil Burkert, chief of maintenance, sat in the front-left passenger seat, his feet stretched out on the Learjet’s closed, airstair door. All work for LR Services, a privately owned, charter/management company based at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pa. We were en route to Wichita, Kan., to display 28-001 at Bombardier’s “Learjet 50 Years of Flight” event on Saturday, October 5. The occasion celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the first Learjet, the 23, on Oct. 7, 1963.
You’ll find the full story of this trip here on AINonline. This image gallery contains addtional photographs. All photos are copyrighted by AIN Publications and were taken by Jim Dinan and R. Randall Padfield, as indicated.