The Lear 85 Will Be Bigger, Faster, Fly Farther Than Any Learjet Ever

Bombardier's latest incarnation of the Learjet, the Lear 85, made a successful first flight yesterday in Wichita, Kansas. The Lear 85 is larger, faster, and has a longer range than any previous model in the Learjet line.

Flight Test Vehicle One (FTV1) flew for 2 hours and 15 minutes, up to an altitude of 30,000 feet, cruising at 250 knots. Bombardier said all systems performed as expected.

At the first flight celebration in Wichita, Éric Martel, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft said:

"The first flight of the Learjet 85 aircraft was a very proud and thrilling moment for all Bombardier employees. Incredible hard work and dedication from our people went into this aircraft development program. This includes our sites in Wichita, Querétaro and Montréal, as well as our facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We are all very excited to see this new aircraft, the fastest and most spacious Learjet aircraft, take to the skies, and we look forward to a very successful flight test program."

The Lear 85 Will Be Bigger, Faster, Fly Farther Than Any Learjet Ever

Lear 85 FTV1 under final assembly in Wichita

The Lear 85 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW307B turbofans, providing 6,100 pounds of thrust. The flight deck is fit with three 15-inch LCD monitors from the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite.

The Lear 85 Will Be Bigger, Faster, Fly Farther Than Any Learjet Ever

Lear 85 cabin

Seating up to eight passengers, the Lear 85 measures 68.1 feet long, with a 61.5 foot wingspan. Its range is 3,000 nautical miles at up to Mach 0.82 (541 miles per hour) and a maximum altitude of 49,000 feet.

Learjets have been flying since 1963, and once held the Los Angeles to Washington D.C. speed record at 4 hours, 12 minutes. It was eclipsed in 2004 by the SR-71 Blackbird, which flew it in 64 minutes on its final flight to be retired at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar Hazy National Air & Space Museum.

All photos provided by Bombardier