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Learjet 85 moves a step closer to making first test flight

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, at 3:36 p.m.

Bombardier Learjet has obtained the first flight test permit from the Federal Aviation Administration for the first Learjet 85 flight test airplane.

The permit brings the Learjet 85 program a step closer to first flight, which will take place in the coming weeks, officials say.

Bombardier also reports that engine run testing and low-speed taxi testing have successfully been completed on the first flight test airplane.

The team working on the midsize Learjet 85 business jet program will finalize the plane’s configuration and conduct further engine runs and high-speed taxi tests to prepare for the first flight.

“We have successfully completed preliminary testing on the Learjet 85 FTV1 (Flight Test Vehicle 1) and we are now one step closer in achieving the first flight,” Ralph Acs, vice president and general manager of Bombardier’s Learjet facility, said in a statement. “We’re committed to offering our customers state-of-the-art aircraft, and we look very much forward to showcasing the Learjet 85 jet, the biggest Learjet aircraft ever, during its maiden flight.”

Bombardier announced the all-composite Learjet 85, a clean-sheet design, in October 2007.

It’s the largest and fastest Learjet to date.

The business jet had been scheduled to fly by the end of 2013, but the flight was delayed. Delays in the program have focused around systems integration issues, Pierre Beaudoin, president and CEO of Bombardier, said in a conference call last week.

Entry into service is still scheduled for summer 2014. After the plane has flown for a period of time, Bombardier is expected to release a new schedule for the Learjet 85 and its expected entry into service.

The plane is targeted to achieve a high-speed cruise of 624 mph and have a transcontinental range of about 3,000 nautical miles.

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

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