Photo courtesy of Bombardier Aerospace
Bombardier Aerospace has completed the critical design review of its Learjet 85 and is beginning production of the mostly composite business jet. Detailed drawings are complete not only for the main airplane structure, but also for components from the 41 suppliers, says Ralph Acs, vice president and general manager, Learjet, for Bombardier Business Aircraft.
“We have made solid progress,” Acs says. “Our manufacturing sites are ready, production has begun, we have been successfully building parts, and we are ensuring that all quality standards are met for the Learjet 85 aircraft’s entry into service in 2013.”
Bombardier is planning a certification program that would entail five aircraft, but the company would not discuss a potential rollout or first-flight date. But with a 2013 certification goal, the first aircraft likely would fly next year.
Major assemblies are underway, including a composite fuselage section at the company’s Queretaro, Mexico, plant, where much of the composites and wiring work will be accomplished. The Queretaro site already has produced several test fuselages.
Work is ongoing at other sites, including production of wing spars and planks using Resin Transfer Infusion (RTI) technology at the Belfast, Ireland, plant. The RTI technology is also incorporated in the CSeries aircraft, Acs says, adding that Bombardier’s strategic plan is to harness and share technology developed for new aircraft across platforms.
Bombardier also has installed test rigs at all of its sites and is setting up test rigs at all of its suppliers. About 40% are up and running, Acs says, with the remainder coming in the next few months.
Meanwhile, preparations are underway in Wichita, Kan., for assembly of the aircraft. The company completed a 28,00-sq.-ft. addition to its facility for final assembly. Phase two of the expansion includes a new production fight facility, to be completed next year, and a paint and delivery center, for completion in 2013.