Neither engine showed any signs of catastrophic failure or fuel starvation, according to the NTSB’s preliminary investigation into the crash of an Air Cargo Express Learjet 24D (N887TD, operating as Turbodog 36) nearing El Paso, Texas, on December 10. The two pilots were killed when the aircraft hit the ground in a “predominantly vertical angle” while descending on a clearance from 39,000 ft to 10,000 ft msl.
Bombardier plans to increase the maximum takeoff weight of the Learjet 45 by at least 800 lb, bringing the mtow to 21,300 lb. With the improved weight vs payload capabilities, the Learjet 45 will now be able to take eight passengers on longer flights, such as Moscow to Madrid or Cairo to Paris, according to Bombardier.
At last month’s Farnborough Air Show, Bombardier Business Aircraft confirmed plans for two Learjet 45 follow-on models.
The ranks of small business jets are about to swell with the imminent buildup of new sub-10,000-pound jets certified to FAA Part 23 regulations. Priced from $1.5 to $4.5 million, these jets include the newly certified Cessna Mustang and Eclipse 500, and the in-development Adam A700, HondaJet and Embraer Phenom 100.
LEARJET 24B, HELENDALE, CALIF., DEC. 23, 2003–At 9:11 a.m. PST Learjet 24B N600XJ crashed near Helendale, killing the ATP-rated captain and commercial-rated copilot. The airplane, destroyed in the accident, was registered to Pavair of Santa Monica, Calif., and operated by Xtrajet, also of Santa Monica. N600XJ had departed from Chino, Calif., at 9 a.m. on an IFR flight plan for Sun Valley, Idaho, to pick up passengers.
Bill Lear possessed the soul of a true inventor. Almost entirely a self-taught engineer, Lear dropped out of high school in a search for answers to many of life’s problems as he saw them. The results were products many people take for granted, even today…the car radio he eventually sold to the budding Motorola, the eight-track tape player and the first commercially successful aircraft autopilot. Not bad for a kid with no formal education.
The NTSB on Tuesday is scheduled to adopt its final investigation reports, including the determination of probable cause, of two fatal Learjet accidents–departure from controlled flight, Learjet 24B, N600XJ, Helendale, Calif., Dec. 23, 2003; and controlled flight into terrain, Learjet 35A, N30DK, San Diego, Calif., Oct. 24, 2004.
Spirit Wing Aviation of Guthrie, Okla., has begun the final phase of flight-testing the Spirit-Lear, a re-engined and modified Learjet 24/25. Extensive testing of all SpiritLear systems was ongoing at press time, with STC approval now expected by the end of this summer–a delay from previous estimates of the first quarter.