November 15, 2013
Bombardier received FAA certification on Nov. 14 for the first of the new Learjets, the Learjet 75, clearing the way for deliveries to formally begin.
Bombardier on Oct. 17 held a ceremonial celebration for the delivery of the initial Learjet 75s – ceremonial because the aircraft was not yet certified. Bombardier had hoped to arrive at last month’s National Business Aviation Association annual convention with FAA approval in hand, but that was pushed back by the government shutdown.
The first customers of the new Learjets are banker and real estate mogul Louis Beck and charter company London Air Services. Fractional operator FlexJet is also expected to begin taking delivery of the Learjets. FlexJet has already begun hiring and training for the new aircraft, and as part of the company’s pending sale to Directional Aviation Capital, placed a firm order in September for 25 of the aircraft.
The Learjet 75, which is the follow-on to the Learjet 45, is the first of three Learjet aircraft in certification. Certification of the Learjet 70, a smaller variant of the 75 and the follow-on to the Learjet 40, is expected to follow shortly, while the all-new Learjet 85 is expected to begin flying soon with certification following a year later.
Bombardier’s Learjet deliveries have slowed while the company has been in transition to the new programs, phasing out the Learjet 40 and 45 predecessors.
Announced in May 2012, Bombardier had originally targeted certification for earlier this year. But delays in certification of the Garmin 5000 avionics panel – Garmin’s first foray into the Part 25 market – slightly slipped the timeline for the Learjets, along with a couple of the Cessna models on track for certification this year.
The all-new Garmin panels are the foundation for the Learjet’s Bombardier Vision flight deck with flat-panel displays, synthetic vision and graphic flight planning, touchscreen controls and required navigation performance 0.3 capabilities.
The new aircraft will incorporate Honeywell TFE731-40BR turbofans that produce 700 lb. more thrust. This shortens takeoff field length to less than 4,500 ft. and enables the aircraft to clime directly to 45,000 ft. Both Learjets have a 200-lb. increase in available payload.
Bombardier has incorporated some of the interior design and technology elements developed for the Learjet 85, such as improved seating, a cabin management system with individual touchscreen monitors and audio and video control, LED lighting and an increased baggage area.