To mark the 50th anniversary of the Learjet 23’s first flight on 7 October, US fractional ownership company Flexjet has begun a six-city US tour under the banner “Legends Redefined”.

The roadshow features a mock-up of the Bombardier Learjet 85 – for which Flexjet is a launch customer, with an order for 30 of the midsize business jets. The all-composite aircraft is earmarked for certification and service entry later next year.

The 50-year-old Learjet 23 is widely regarded as one of the most important business aircraft in history. Self-financed by aviation pioneer Bill Lear, the eight-seat aircraft was the first of the successful line of Learjets and revolutionised the business transport world by creating a new market for fast and efficient small jet transportation.

Derived from Switzerland’s P-16 fighter prototype, the Learjet 23 entered service in 1964. Production was halted two years later with the introduction of the Learjet 24. According to Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database, 101 Learjet 23s were delivered. Six of these remain in service today and two are in storage.

Flexjet is one of the largest operators of Learjet business jets, with a fleet of 35 aircraft. The 18-year-old operator was sold by Bombardier earlier this month to private equity firm Directional Aviation Capital – owner of fellow US fractional ownership company Flight Options and charter jet card pioneer Sentient.

Source: Flight International