Meanwhile, Bombardier Claims Its Own New Speed Records

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Not to be outdone, Bombardier yesterday announced its Learjet 60 set a world speed record in its class, flying from Jeddah to Dubai nonstop, in 1 hour, 59 minutes. The flight was fully sanctioned by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and will be submitted to the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), according to official procedure, in order to validate the record flight. Once validated, the NAA will submit the record to the FAI in Paris, France, for international ratification. According to Bombardier, this is the second Learjet 60 record in less than five months: On Sept. 21, 2006, another Learjet 60 jet flew Cape Town-Johannesburg, round trip, in 2 hours, 59 minutes. To date, Bombardier says the Learjet 60 has accumulated 13 world speed records over nine routes in five countries.

"The jet performed superbly as expected,” said captain James Sizemore, of ExecuJet Middle East, the aircraft’s operator. “The aircraft handled beautifully throughout the flight and the time easily establishes a new benchmark for this trip.” In customer service since July 2001, the Learjet 60 cruised at Mach 0.81 throughout the flight. Soon, Bombardier may want to re-do these records, however: Its first Learjet 60 XR aircraft is scheduled to enter service in the first quarter of 2007. The newest model will feature a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite and restyled interior with increased legroom, optimized work areas, LED lighting throughout the cabin and state-of-the art audio-video system.