EBACE: Learjet 85 assembly to begin mid-year

Washington DC
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Bombardier (stand 7011) will begin building composite parts for its largest, fastest and longest-range Learjet to date, the Learjet 85, at facilities in Wichita and Queretaro, Mexico by mid-year, says programme manager Larry Thimmesh.

Fuselage, cabin and horizontal stabiliser tooling for the composite, fly-by-wire aircraft are now being built, after which construction will begin on the components.

Flight-critical structures, including the wing and flight controls, will be built using resin transfer infusion processes perfected for the Bombardier CSeries narrowbody aircraft, says Thimmesh, while others will use out-of-autoclave pre-impregnated composite sheets.

Bombardier will build the fuselage and 21m (70ft) wing at its 60,960m2 (200,000ft2) Queretaro factory, now under construction. Expansion will also be necessary in Wichita, where final assembly, painting and delivery will be undertaken, to accommodate the size of the new aircraft, which is 40% larger than the Learjet 60XR.

The eight-passenger, PW307B-powered twinjet is being designed in Montreal, with drawings for the detailed design phase of the aircraft, now under way, coming from its Manchester, UK facility.

Thimmesh says Bombardier plans to build two ground-test airframes for static and fatigue testing, two initial flight-test prototype aircraft and three pre-production flight-test aircraft. Entry into service is set for 2013.