Bombardier Drops Grob In Lear 85

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Bombardier says it will go it alone in development of its composite Learjet 85. The company had a deal with Grob Aerospace, of Switzerland, to develop the main composite structure, but Grob was thrown into insolvency when a lead investor pulled out in August. At the time, Bombardier officials said they were sticking with Grob but pulled the pin on the deal late last week. "Given the uncertainty surrounding Grob's insolvency, Learjet has decided to terminate its agreement with Grob Aerospace," effective Sept. 17, 2008, said Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft. "Bombardier Aerospace is taking decisive action and this decision reflects our strong commitment to both the Learjet 85 aircraft program...."

Despite the suddenly steepened learning curve (Bombardier has never built a composite airframe), the company says it intends to maintain the development schedule. Grob says it understands Bombardier's need to keep the project moving and will help move all the Lear 85 tooling and structures out of its German plant. Grob is continuing to promote its own SPn composite bizjet and will have a mockup at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando next month.