Bombardier drew a huge crowd yesterday at the EBACE show as it announced two new aircraft types in the light-midsized jet segment: the Learjet 70 and 75. “We are pleased to be building on the Learjet heritage and forecast a strong recovery in the business aviation market,” declared Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft.
The 2,000-nm range Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 (priced, respectively, at $11.1 million and $13.5 million) will deliver longer range than the existing Learjet 40XR and 45XR models they are replacing. They will offer upgrades in the cabin, cockpit engines and airframe. Set to enter service in early 2013, both jets will feature the new Vision Flight Deck, which incorporates the Garmin G5000 digital avionics suite complete with synthetic vision.
The cabin offers a slick black-and-white interior inherited from the Learjet 85, including new seats and an advanced cabin management system with individual pop-up touchscreen monitors, plus full audio and video control. There is also LED lighting throughout, a large baggage area and a spacious galley. The cabin management system will be controllable via an iPad and the cabin will feature Ethernet technology from Lufthansa Technik to make future technology upgrades more straightforward.
Increased engine power comes courtesy of a souped-up Honeywell engine, the TFE 731-40BR. Both jets will offer an improved takeoff field length of less than 4,500 feet, almost 200 feet shorter than that of the 40XR. A new canted-winglet design will improve aerodynamics, and the OEM says the Learjets will offer up to a 9-percent improvement in field performance and a 4-percent improvement in fuel efficiency.
The six-passenger Learjet 70 can connect city pairs such as Chicago-San Juan and Mexico City-Minneapolis, while the 75 can fly four people from Los Angeles to Toronto or Mumbai to Bangkok. It will be able to handle a range close to 1,950 nm carrying eight passengers.
According to Ridolfi, Bombardier has gathered more than 50 firm orders and letters of intent for the two new types so far. The airframer is also offering a 600-hour inspection maintenance program with each new order.
“It’s about having a continuity across the Learjet platforms,” Learjet v-p and general manager Ralph Acs told AIN. “We’re placing much more importance on maintenance and the cost of operations now.”
Bombardier last year secretly began flight-testing of the new technology on Learjet 40 and 45 development aircraft. A third test aircraft is to be fitted with an interior and cabin management system and a fourth will follow featuring the revised wing and winglets, before a fifth prototype is used to confirm all the new elements.