Top Letters And Comments, February 12, 2021


Bombardier To Close Down Learjet Production

End of an era. It’s safe to say if there had been no Lear, Bombardier’s (and probably everyone else’s as well) bizjet product line would be completely different – if it would exist at all.

Chris K.

I have 6 business jet type ratings. The Lear was fun to fly (what a climber!)–but a handful. There are all kinds of “gotchas” with the airplane that require pilot attention and compensation to fly it safely. As the first “purpose built” business jet, pilots had to fly the early Lears without benefit of good ground school or simulators. Most of these pilots were moving up from piston aircraft (there were no turboprops back then–Bill Lear opined “We’re going to skip that step”)

The accident record on the early airplanes was horrendous. Even today, many major corporations prohibit their people from flying on Learjets–though the new Learjets have little in common with the old. Bombardier was never able to eliminate the “Fearjet” stigma–though they tried. Lears are tough airplanes–they will be around for a long time–IF Bombardier keeps supporting them.

Jim H.

Bell X-1

I just watched Paul Bertorelli’s presentation regarding the X-1 and enjoyed it immensely. My father flew that aircraft one time and was a contemporary test pilot with Yeager, Ridley, Hoover, etc. I once asked him about the experience. He told me that on being dropped from the B-29 he fired the first two rocket motors when a fire warning light came on. He said that he didn’t know if he would get a repeat chance to fly the X-1, so he fired the other two rocket motors. No fire occurred. I was told on one flight where Jack Ridley was flying the X-1 that he complained of smoke and worried about fire. Whoever was on the ground said there was nothing in the cockpit to burn. Jack’s response was, “Yes there is – me!”

Richard J.

Always enjoy your articles, informative and interesting. This video was terrific. You exposed so much info in a concise program that any aviation buff would enjoy. Especially liked your cameo of the turbo pump discussion. Keep up the great work.

David P.

Poll: Will You Attend Sun ‘n Fun?

  • Can’t due to U.S. restrictions on international travel.
  • Yes, parking will finally be available for something other than a warbird/twin/turbine.
  • We are planning for it.
  • I’m not planning to attend, both because of the current level of pandemic immunization and also because I would not bet it will actually go on as planned. Too many unknowns at this point.
  • Depends on lodging.
  • Maybe. Too many variables this early in the year.
  • I’m going as an insurance policy in case Airventure 2021 gets cancelled.
  • Was planning to, but I think I’ll go for my glider rating instead.
  • No, but only because I have work commitments that week.
  • The US/Canada border will probably closed until all Canadians have received the vaccine.
  • Maybe, with safer protocols.
  • Hope to if airfare is reasonable.
  • NO WAY in HELL.
  • Only if I don’t have to wear a mask everywhere. I understand some peoples fear but if they have their mask on, they are protected, right?
  • Maybe. All depends on the state of Florida’s pandemic, whether I can get vaccinated, the new normal for SNF participants, exhibitors, etc. In other words, I will make my decision a week before the event.
  • Working on the plane.
  • No, but not because of COVID; keep the freckled-necked masses there with warbirds and beer, I’ll stay at my grass strip and fly my true homebuilt, thanks.
  • My decision not to go has nothing to do with COVID. Due to managements unpardonable treatment of owners with damaged planes the year of the tornado, I will never return.
  • Nope. going to OSH this year.
  • Yes, probably.
  • No way! No how!

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  1. Yes, Mr. Lear collaborated with Canadair on the wide-body business jet ‘Challenger’, which morphed into a successful Regional Jet, but he and Canadair parted company before completion of it.

    Canadair became part of the Bombardier company, renowned for snowmobiles, as did deHavilland Canada later. Learjet of Wichita was purchased by Bombardier much later.

    Canadair had roots in Avro Canada, which produced a prototype of a regional jetliner, but the Canadian Government funder shut the project down to concentrate on the Avro Arrow high altitude interceptor and its engines.