Three Learjet 45s and one Learjet 40 are included in the flight test programme preceding the introduction of Bombardier's new Learjet 70 and 75.
All of the major upgrades for the new light and super-light business jets, including the flight deck, engines, winglets, cabin management system and interior, will be installed and flown first on the Learjet 45s and 40 before the first flight test of the Learjet 75 later this year, says Ralph Acs, vice president and general manager of Learjet.
The flight test campaign began in secret in late 2011 using a Learjet 40 and 45 modified with the new Vision Flight Deck, which includes the Garmin 5000 avionics and synthetic vision system.
Another Learjet 45 will begin flight tests in the third quarter with the Learjet 75 interior and cabin management system, Acs says.
Bombardier is also installing new winglets and a new derivative of the Honeywell TF731 engine on the Learjet 75. The new winglet features a wider cant by 2˚ compared with the Learjet 45 winglets, while the engine adds 10% higher thrust, Acs says. Both the winglets and the TFE731-40BR will be tested on board a third Learjet 45 starting in the third quarter.
Finally, Bombardier will integrate all of the improvements for the first time on the first Learjet 75 prototype, which is scheduled to achieve first flight before January, Acs says.
Bombardier plans to deliver the first Learjet 75 in early 2013 after completing certification.