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Learjet test pilot Pete Reynolds named to hall of fame

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, March 31, 2014, at 11:06 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, March 31, 2014, at 5:13 p.m.

Pete Reynolds, the former head of flight testing at Bombardier Learjet, will be inducted into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame in a ceremony April 15.

Reynolds, a decorated Air Force pilot during the early 1970s, joined Learjet in 1973 and had a major role in the development, testing and certification of every Learjet model for more than 30 years.

He spent the last eight years of his time at Bombardier as vice president of flight test, where he managed 500 employees and was responsible for all flight testing conducted on Canadair, deHavilland and Learjet products.

In 1999, he received the Society of Experimental Flight Test Pilots’ J.H. Doolittle Award for outstanding achievements in aerospace engineering and technical management.

Reynolds flew maiden flights on eight Learjet models, from the Learjet 24E to the Learjet 40, and holds numerous world speed records.

Five of those were set with Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, in the Learjet 28-001 on Feb. 19 and 20, 1979. They set records for time-to-climb, altitude and altitude in horizontal flight.

“Pete epitomizes the vision and courage that all of us in the industry assign to test pilots,” Dave Franson, president of the Wichita Aero Club, said in a statement.

Reynolds has more than 12,000 flight hours and was the 1992 Kansas Governor’s Aviation Honors recipient.

After retiring in the mid-2000s, Reynolds was a contract flight engineering consultant.

He and his wife, Becky, live in Goddard.

Reynolds will be honored by the Wichita Aero Club and the Kansas Aviation Museum from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 15 at the museum, 3350 S. George Washington Blvd.

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

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