Flight Test Vehicle 1 (FTV1) of the new Learjet 85 made its first flight from Wichita-Mid Continent International Airport on 9 April 2014 at 08:19 CST, marking the type’s maiden flight.
Chief Flight Test Pilot Ed Grabham, co-pilot Jim Dwyer and Flight Test Engineer Nick Weyers manned the FTV1 during an airborne time of 2 hours and 15 minutes. The Learjet 85 aircraft reached an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 metres) and an air speed of 250 knots (463 kmh; 287 mph).
The Learjet 85 is made by Bombardier, with personnel at the sites in Wichita, Querétaro, Montréal and Belfast (Northern Ireland) contributing to the new aircraft.
The model 85 aircraft will be the largest, fastest and most capable Learjet aircraft ever. The jet is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B engines, each boasting 6,100 pounds of take-off thrust at sea level up to 86ºF (30ºC) and low noise levels, while the lower NOx emitting combustor offers reduced environmental impact. The aircraft targets a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82 and a transcontinental range of approximately 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 km).
The aircraft’s Cabin Management System will feature a high-capacity Ethernet network, a digital amplifier to feed the high-fidelity speaker system and an interface to support the aircraft cabin environment, including lighting and temperature control. The system’s open architecture also allows for easy integration of third-party equipment and new applications, such as high-definition features.
Since acquiring Learjet Inc. in 1990, Bombardier has carried forward the brand’s legacy by launching eight high-performance and fuel-efficient Learjet aircraft. The test flight of the Learjet 85 was long expected, after the aircraft was spotted in preparation for it in February 2014.