After 15 years of production, Bombardier’s Learjet 60 mid-size jet is to get its first major upgrade. The new Learjet 60XR was launched at the show today with the unveiling of a mock-up of the aircraft’s updated cockpit and redesigned cabin.

“The XR is the first major injection of modifications into the Learjet 60,” says Brad Nolan, Learjet product planning manager. The Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated flightdeck “addresses the perception of the aircraft being technologically old” he says, while cabin styling is brought up to date.  At $12.9 million, the XR will cost $400,000 more than the Learjet 60.


Almost 300 Learjet 60s have been produced since it first flew in June 1991, a year after Bombardier took over the Wichita-based manufacturer. Despite the lack of investment since then, Nolan says, the aircraft has maintained a share of 20-25% in a crowded market. “That says a lot for the Learjet 60.”

While the Learjet 60 is the best-performing mid-size jet, climbing and cruising faster and higher while burning less fuel than its nearest competitor, the Hawker 800XP’s newer avionics are “tough to compete against”, says Nolan, adding: “New avionics are the main reason for the Learjet 60XR.”

The new Pro Line 21 cockpit has four 8 x 10in (205 x 255mm) liquid-crystal display replacing the 60’s smaller cathode-ray tubes, engine instruments and several other panel items. Electronic charts are introduced as standard. An optional second file server provides graphical weather and map overlays and allows paperless cockpit operation.

The Universal flight-management system traditional in Learjets is replaced by Collins’s FMS-5000, which provides better integration with the avionics and displays, says Nolan. The radio tuning units are upgraded to LCDs, and can be used as reversionary flight displays, and the avionics warranty is increased to five years.

A Learjet 60 is being provided to Collins for installation and certification of the new Pro Line 21 cockpit, with first flight scheduled for the first quarter of next year, leading to certification in the third quarter. Interior certification and first deliveries are planned for the first quarter of 2007, says Nolan.

The XR cabin is “gutted and refitted” with a “more futuristic” and modular interior, says Nolan. Five floorplans are offered, ranging from the baseline seven-passenger interior to a nine-seat layout without galley aimed at charter operators. LED lighting is introduced, and the new touchscreen-control cabin management system provides passenger iPod and laptop inputs.

Source: Flight Daily News