Learjet 85 Makes First Flight

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Bombardier’s Learjet 85 successfully made its first test flight on April 9 from Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport despite delays that have pushed the program back several months. The first composite structure Learjet reportedly flew for over two hours, reaching a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet and speed of 250 knots. Spokesperson Annie Cossette said that the aircraft and its systems performed as expected. The crew consisted of chief test pilot Ed Grabman, copilot Jim Dwyer and flight test engineer Nick Weyers.

The Learjet 85 was announced in 2007 and at one time was to projected to enter service as early as 2013 but a number of delays have slowed the project; Cossette did not say when first deliveries are anticipated. Designed for a niche between midsize and super midsize bizjets, the 85 is expected to seat up to eight passengers, have a range of 3,000 nautical miles and a max cruise of 0.82 Mach.