Arrivals and Standbys
the canadian manufacturer Bombardier is investing heavily in its future fleet, especially in its Learjet line of business jets, which are being produced in Wichita, Kan. The Learjet 70, an $11 million light jet that was introduced in May, is an upgrade of the 10-year-old Learjet 40. Bombardier expects to begin deliveries of the aircraft early next year. Much of the makeover is borrowed from the clean-sheet design of the Learjet 85. It includes the addition of lots of storage space and productivity tools in the cabin and the Garmin G5000 avionics suite in the cockpit. The G5000 utilizes three 14-inch touchscreen panels and high levels of automation to reduce pilot workload. The jet’s new winglets make it more aerodynamic, and new Honeywell engines add power and reduce fuel burn. The combination produces a cruise speed of 535 mph at altitudes as high as 51,000 feet, which is well above any weather disturbances. The jet can fly more than 2,300 miles nonstop while carrying as many as seven passengers in its 18-foot-long cabin.
Bombardier is also preparing the Learjet 75, an upgrade of its 10-year-old Learjet 45 model. Deliveries of the $13.5 million light-midsize jet are expected to begin in the first half of 2013. The Learjet 75 offers virtually the same performance capabilities as the Learjet 70; it has the same winglets, Honeywell engines, and Garmin G5000 avionics. But its cabin is more than 2 feet longer and accommodates as many as nine passengers.
The midsize Learjet 85, which the company launched in 2007, is nearing final development, certification, and production. First deliveries of the nearly $20 million aircraft are expected to take place next year. Designed from the ground up, the Learjet 85 will fly faster and farther than any other Learjet. Final performance figures are pending, but Bombardier’s targets are a maximum speed of 541 mph and a range beyond 3,400 miles. The 85 is the first Learjet built with a composite structure, which is strong, light, and easy to maintain, and minimizes drag. It has an all-new interior design that includes more cabin volume, bigger windows, and superior ergonomics compared to earlier Learjets. The cabin carries as many as 10 passengers in a double-club seating arrangement.
In addition to augmenting its Learjet line, Bombardier has developed not one but two large-cabin, ultralong-range jets. The Global 7000 has an enormous cabin: 59.6 feet between the cockpit and the aft bulkhead, which makes it very flexible in terms of layout. Owners can have it configured with a stand-up shower, a dining area, and a private office. The base configuration seats 17 people very comfortably, and each seat reclines fully—a useful feature for a plane with an 8,400-mile range. The jet is expected to be priced at $68.9 million and to enter service in early 2016. The Global 7000 will require only 5,950 feet of runway to take off at sea level. It will have a cruise speed of 564 mph and a cruise altitude of 51,000 feet. A caveat is the aircraft’s 106,000-pound weight when carrying its capacity of passengers and fuel; this could restrict takeoffs and landings at certain general-aviation airports.
With a range of approximately 9,000 miles, the Global 8000 will be able to link an unprecedented number of city pairs, including New York and Mumbai or Sydney and Los Angeles. It will travel about 1,000 miles farther than its closest competitor, and the engines developed for this aircraft give it the lowest fuel burn and lowest emissions of any jet in the ultralong-range class. Yet the jet will travel at speeds as fast as 594 mph. The Global 8000 is expected to have a price of about $66.3 million, and Bombardier plans to begin deliveries in early 2017.
Although it has a smaller cabin than the 7000—50 feet long—the Global 8000 can accommodate as many as 19 passengers in fully reclining seats. Like the 7000, this aircraft will have a maximum takeoff weight that is greater than 100,000 pounds, which can make it subject to weight restrictions at some airports. —Mary Grady and Michelle Seaton