Bombardier Flies Lear 60XR For First Time

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Bombardier flew the newest addition to its Learjet fleet for the first time last week, taking the Learjet 60XR for a 2-plus-20 hop out of the Rockwell Collins facility at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. According to the company, the first flight was "rigorous," and took place under sunny and windy conditions at 1:47 p.m. The first Learjet 60 XR (serial number 60-294) returned on schedule at 4:07 p.m. local time, after climbing to 17,500 feet and accelerating to a maximum true airspeed of 310 knots; its takeoff weight was 20,000 pounds. The three crewmembers -- PIC Douglas May, a 15-year career pilot, flight test engineer Bernie Hayes and SIC Keith Kankelfitz of Rockwell Collins -- conducted specific testing to evaluate the new model's Pro Line 21 integrated displays, including the edge-to-edge ADIs (Attitude Deviation Indicators), and the FMS (Flight Management Systems)-to-avionics interface. In fact, you could say the 60XR is all about the avionics, which also includes integrated electronic charting features, and which were evaluated during the approaches back into the Eastern Iowa Airport. In addition to the newly installed "magic," the Learjet 60XR also features a redesigned cabin with five different floorplans, a larger galley and lavatory, plus a new cabin management system with 3-inch LCD control modules and ports for laptops, iPods and other audio/video equipment. New-tech LED lighting is featured throughout the cabin.

“The new avionics system certainly proved its worth, making it simpler to stay connected with the world outside the aircraft,” reported pilot May. “The ADIs provided an easy-to-interpret reference for all aircraft attitudes. The FMS-to-avionics interface successfully delivered more critical flight information with greater ease; and chart operations were intuitive and provided exceptional situational awareness.” In addition to its other features, the Learjet 60XR's Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 flight deck includes four 8-inch-by-10-inch high-resolution liquid crystal display adaptive flight screens, boosting the overall display area by an impressive 75 percent and dramatically increasing the quality of the visuals. The integrated flight information system, which includes accessing electronic charts as standard equipment, allows pilots to view approach plates and airport diagrams. Flight deck certification by the FAA is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2006, with certification by Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency expected to follow shortly thereafter. The first Learjet 60 XR aircraft is currently on schedule to enter service in the first quarter of 2007.