The long wait for Bombardier to move on a replacement for the Learjet 40XR and 45XR is over. The aircraft maker is launching the Learjet 70 and 75, both slated to enter service in second half 2013.
The new models will feature more thrust, improved takeoff performance, faster climb to cruise altitude, better fuel efficiency and lower operating costs. They will be powered by 3,850 lb. thrust Honeywell TFE731-40BR turbofans and have Bombardier’s signature Vision cockpit layout featuring Garmin G5000 avionics.
The Vision flight decks in the cockpit will feature three, 14-inch flat-panel displays, synthetic vision and graphic flight planning, along with split screen images, touch screen controllers and RNP 0.3 capabilities, plus LPV approach navigation and ADS-B OUT broadcasting. They’ll also provide pilots with cabin amenities, such as chrome and leather trim on seats and yokes.
The aircraft will be equipped with much improved winglets modeled after those being developed for the long-range Global 7000 and 8000.
The Learjet 70 and 75 will offer sportier performance than the Learjet 40XR and 45XR because they carry several hundred pounds less in avionics weight and are propelled by 700 lb. more thrust.
The increased thrust will shorten takeoff field lengths to less than 4,500 ft. Runway performance long has been a sore point with Learjet 40-series operators. The -40AR engines used on Gulfstream G150 are rated at 4,420 lb. thrust to ISA+13C, thus the 3,850 lb. thrust -40BRs will have generous flat-rating margins for hot-and-high airport performance.
The new aircraft will climb directly to 45,000 and, once there, burn 4-5% less fuel than the aircraft they will replace because of the new winglets. (The -40BR engines have the same high altitude cruise thrust output and thrust specific fuel consumption as the -20BR turbofans on today’s Learjets).
Both aircraft will be able to carry at least 200 lb. more payload with maximum fuel and will be able to fly about 2,000 nm at long range cruise.
The aircraft will have extended and harmonized maintenance schedules, with 600 hour or 18 month inspection intervals. Reduced fuel consumption and less frequent shop visits should reduce operating costs.
The new aircraft will use the same high definition cabin management system, produced by Lufthansa Technik, on the Learjet 85. Restyled interiors will offer greater comfort and utility, such as PDA storage pockets in the side rails, 7-inch pop-up touchscreen control panels, a 12-inch bulkhead-mounted flat-panel monitor and improved chair comfort and better space utilization. The cabin management system (CMS) has a flexible design allowing for expected growth in digital audio and visual equipment technology. The entire side trim panels will function as speakers.
Flight Test Vehicles 1 and 2, a Learjet 45XR and 40XR, have been flying with G5000 avionics for nearly two years. The new CMS and interior will be installed in FTV3. FTV4, fitted with -40BR engines and redesigned winglets, is slated to make its first flight later this year. Honeywell expects -40BR certification by year’s end. FTV5, a fully-equipped Learjet 75, will be used for function and reliability proving flights.
The $11.1-million Learjet 70 will be certified slightly after the $13.5-million Learjet 75. Bombardier claims to have more than 40 purchase agreements and letters of intent for the two models.