Bombardier narrows first flight window for Learjet 85

Washington DC
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Bombardier has narrowed the first flight window for the delayed Learjet 85 programme to sometime before the end of the year.

Unlike its sister CSeries programme, Bombardier has never specified a month or a quarter as the target date for the maiden flight of the midsize, all-composite business jet.

Entry-into-service was originally scheduled for late-2013, but problems with composite manufacturing set the programme back six- to nine-months to the third quarter of 2014.

Bombardier chief executive Pierre Beaudoin re-affirmed on a second quarter earnings teleconference with analysts and journalists that the issues with building the composites in Queretaro, Mexico, are resolved.

"Today, that's behind us," Beaudoin says. "We're getting ready for the first flights."

Notes published in the second quarter financial statements indicate first flight test vehicle, FTV1, is "significantly advanced" in the final assembly process.

The completed aircraft, with the wings joined to the fuselage, engines and horizontal stabiliser mounted to the airframe and landing gear installed, has already been painted, according to the notes.

Still underway are "systems and flight test installations", while the main electrical distribution system has been fuly powered.

Structural safety-of-flight testing of the complete airframe static test (CAST) article is still ongoing at the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University. Bombardier also is still seeking to certify the manufacturing process for the Learjet 85 with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Suppliers, meanwhile, have completed 94% of safety-of-flight testing on individual components and systems in isolated test rigs, Bombardier says.