- September 17, 2009, 11:21 AM
Bombardier’s Learjet 85 program continues to move forward or, perhaps more accurately, south, with plans to produce all primary structural components of the all-composite aircraft in Querétaro, Mexico, about 130 miles north of Mexico City. During a recent tour of the Mexican facilities, Bombardier told AIN that some four million square feet is reserved for the company at Querétaro International Airport, with the Learjet 85 plant alone totaling 200,000 sq ft. The Querétaro site, although not yet completed, is already at work with a core of trained Mexican technicians producing composite models and coupons as part of the training process. The composite process includes hand lay-up of pre-preg materials and heat curing rather than the more expensive autoclave method. Two proof-of-concept Learjet 85 fuselages have already been completed in Montreal, all wind-tunnel testing has been completed and the aircraft’s outside mold has been frozen. Detailed design will begin before year-end. Meanwhile, development is being done at Bombardier’s site in Wichita, where final assembly of the 85 will take place. The all-composite Learjet 85 is due to enter service in 2013.