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Grob to build Learjet 85 all-composite airframe

Germany’s Grob Aerospace will design the structure of the Bombardier’s new Learjet 85, an eight-passenger super midsize business jet the company first alluded to in October as the NXT.

Bombardier says the aircraft will be the first all-composite business jet for Bombardier and the first certified under US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 25 rules

In addition to developing the airframe, Grob will also build three prototypes of the aircraft, which Bombardier says will cruise at Mach 0.82 and have a transcontinental range of 5,560km (3,000nm).

Grob expects to certify its own all-composite light jet, the SPn, in the second quarter this year. The company flew its third SPn prototype in October, 11 months after its second prototype crashed. At year’s end, it was completing a fourth test aircraft for the certification program.Flight International reported in November 2006 that Bombardier had been considering a purchase of Grob in order to bring the SPn into the Learjet family.

When the NXT was revealed in November 2007, Bombardier Business Aircraft president, Pierre Gabriel Cote, told Flight: "The design is customer-driven, based on what they have told us they need and want in a new mid-size category business jet. To date, initial market interest in this next-generation offering is strong, as we have received in excess of 65 letters of intent for this aircraft, which we expect to successfully convert into firm orders over the coming months."

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