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Bombardier delays maiden flight of Learjet 85

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, at 4:10 p.m.

The maiden flight of Bombardier’s Learjet 85 in Wichita has been delayed.

The new business jet had been scheduled to fly for the first time by the end of 2013.

“It will happen in the coming weeks,” said Bombardier spokeswoman Annie Cossette. “We’ll apply for the flight permit with the FAA very shortly.”

There is no specific issue that caused the slide of the date of the first flight, she said.

As with any new airplane program, she said, “there’s always some challenges and some new elements we have to take into account. … We’re very committed to respecting the strict flight test protocol, and some elements of that take longer than what was originally planned.”

An assembled Learjet 85 was rolled out of a Learjet hangar in October during a media event.

The plane has been undergoing taxi and pre-flight testing in Wichita, where it’s assembled.

Entry-into-service for the Learjet 85, which holds eight people, is scheduled for summer 2014.

That schedule will be reviewed once the first flight is achieved, Cossette said.

“Depending on when the first flight occurs, people from the program will get together and review … if the date needs to be moved,” she said.

Bombardier launched the Learjet 85 program, the largest Learjet to date, in October 2007. The composite plane fits between the midsize and super midsize segments of the business jet market. It has a range of roughly 3,000 nautical miles.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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