February 5, 2008 Continuing the 45 year development of the famous aircraft platform, the next-generation Learjet will be the first Bombardier Aerospace jet to feature an all-composite structure as well as the first all-composite structure business jet designed for type certification under FAR Part 25. Launched in October 2007 under a provisional name and recently given the official moniker of Learjet 85, Grob Aerospace has been selected to develop the structure and build the first three prototype aircraft for the program.
Bombardier sees the choice of a composite structure as providing several advantages including exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, less susceptibility to corrosion and fatigue than aluminum (meaning reduced maintenance and extended service life), superior aerodynamics courtesy of the smooth, rivetless carbon fiber exterior surfaces and allowing for a cabin design that's taller, wider and larger than any other Learjet yet produced.
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“Composite structures allow designers to optimize all aspects of the aircraft’s internal cabin volume and exterior aerodynamic qualities, thus optimizing performance as well,” said Niall Olver, chief executive officer, Grob Aerospace. “Since delivering our pioneering glider aircraft in the 1970s, Grob has delivered more than 3,500 aircraft that have flown over seven million hours on five continents. We look forward to building the first Learjet 85 prototype structures and growing our working relationship with Learjet. Work at Grob Aerospace on the Learjet 85 adds an exciting manufacturing dimension to the light business jets and trainer aircraft development and production activity already going on at our facilities.”
The Learjet 85 design will deliver a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82 and a transcontinental range of up to 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 km). Inside, the thinner walls facilitated by the structure will provide a larger cabin than any existing midsize aircraft, housing eight passengers in its 73 inch (185.4 cm) wide, 71 inch (180.3 cm) high, 302 inch (7.67 m) long cabin.
The Learjet 85 aircraft’s prototype structures will be manufactured at Grob Aerospace’s facility in Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany, where Learjet design teams are currently on site as part of the joint conceptual design phase.
Bombardier Aerospace purchased the Learjet Corporation in 1990. Since the release of the first production business jet 1964 around 2000 Learjets have been built worldwide.