One of the original developers of private business aircraft, William Powell Lear founded what is now Learjet in 1962, with its first production plane delivered two years later. Canada-based Bombardier acquired the company in 1990 and continued adding to the fleet, including the Learjet 75 in 2013.
But since then, the brand has been in a holding pattern when it comes to new models, at least until recently. Scheduled to enter service this year, the nascent Learjet 75 Liberty has already had two examples sold as medevac aircraft for duty in Poland. The business-jet version, however, offers up a six-seat configuration, allowing its passengers the opportunity to spread out a bit in what is one of the longest cabins in the light-jet class. Measuring 19 feet, 10 inches, the length beats comparable aircraft from Embraer, Cessna and Beechcraft (which range from 15 to 17 feet)—and it has a flat floor, no less.
The 75 Liberty is touted as the first to offer a spacious, two-seat Executive Suite in this size jet. The setup, located at the front, delivers 35 inches of legroom, a couple of fold-out tables and a private space perfect for talking shop, finishing up projects or getting some much-needed sleep. The latter is made easier by a pocket door between the galley and the Club Suite (main cabin) that reduces cabin noise by up to eight decibels. The Club Suite’s four-seat configuration makes for another comfortable zone that’s conducive to relaxation or multitasking, especially given the aircraft’s Gogo ATG 4G connectivity.
With a top speed of Mach 0.81—among the fastest in category—and a range of 2,080 nautical miles, Liberty bests the Embraer Phenom 300 and Cessna Citation CJ3+ on both counts. Those specs mean that it can fly nonstop from, say, Las Vegas to New York or Mexico City to San Francisco, and all with assistance from its Bombardier Vision flight deck and Garmin G5000 avionics upgrade. Base price for the latest Learjet is $9.9 million.