LEARJET HAS demonstrated the Learjet 45's Mach 0.81 maximum cruise speed during more than 60h of testing accomplished since the business jet's first flight on 7 October, 1995. The second Learjet 45 is now being prepared for flight, and three more aircraft are in final assembly. All five aircraft will be used in the 1,250h test programme, in a bid to gain US certification in late 1996.

Bombardier flight-test director Pete Reynolds says that flight-testing is ahead of schedule and "...performance is tracking very closely to what we anticipated at the outset". Five pilots have so far flown the first Learjet 45, including Learjet president Brian Barents, who comments: "The handling is every bit as good as the Learjet 31A, which has the nicest handling characteristics of any jet I have flown."

The aircraft has been flown to 49,000ft (15,000m). Flutter and stall testing has been conducted, and the centre-of-gravity envelope has been opened to beyond the certification limits. Software in the fly-by-wire spoiler system has been changed to improve control response, Learjet says. "We have had absolutely no engine problems whatsoever," comments Reynolds. The Learjet 45 is powered by two AlliedSignal TFE731-20s.

Source: Flight International