Just how much Grob’s insolvency has distrupted development of Bombardier’s new Learjet 85 all-composite business jet became evident on Monday as the company unveiled a full-scale cabin mockup and brought us up to date on the program.
Bombardier has taken back from Grob responsibility for structural design of the Learjet 85 to protect its schedule, and what it has to show for the months of work by the German company is very little. The Canadian manufacturer’s Montreal plant will now redo the structural design using different composite materials and manufacturing processes.
The engineering staffs in Montreal and at Learjet in Wichita will be increased by about 150 over the next six months to handle the extra work. Grob was also going the build the prototypes and initial production airframes until Bombardier’s Queretaro plan in Mexico took over. Now all Learjet 85 airframes will be built in Mexico, and the plant’s expansion is having to be accelerated.
David Coleal, Learjet general manager, says the decision to outsource structural design to Grob was taken to reduce the load on engineering resources at Bombardier, and not because the company lacked the capability to design a composite airframe. That load is now firmly back on Bombardier’s shoulders. There is also a cost, but it’s not saying how much.