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Flying the Lear 45

When Bombardier acquired Learjet in 1989, it bought a successful line of corporate jets with an enthusiastic customer following.


October 3, 2007
By Robert Erdos

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When Bombardier acquired Learjet in 1989, it bought a successful
line of corporate jets with an enthusiastic customer following. The 20-
and 30-series Learjets had been strong sellers and excellent
performers, but they had evolved about as far as their technology would
allow. In 1992, Bombardier engineers were challenged to design a new
light jet to build on the successes of the Learjet line.While they
chose to retain the distinctive Learjet styling, the design was
otherwise a fresh start. Employing the digitally-controlled Honeywell
TFE-731-20 engine, and a brand new wing design incorporating winglets
in lieu of the traditional Learjet tip tanks, the Lear 45 would be a
departure from its predecessors. The only part of the Lear 45 common to
earlier models is the nosewheel strut, a fact that was kindly pointed
out to me by Bombardier demonstration pilot Dennis Simmons during my
recent flight evaluation of the aircraft at Dorval Airport in Montreal.

Getting Acquainted
Our test aircraft, the Lear
45 factory demonstrator N455LJ, was equipped with Honeywell Primus 1000
avionics, dual Universal UNS-1C FMS, dual AHZ-800 attitude-heading
reference systems, TCAS II and EGPWS. Empty, our aircraft weighed
13,591 pounds. For our flight, N455LJ would have 3,000 pounds of fuel,
about half tanks, and three bodies onboard, bringing the takeoff weight
to 17,551 pounds. That's roughly 4,000 pounds below the maximum takeoff
weight of 21,500 pounds. The CG was in the middle of the envelope. Our
test aircraft had the optional APU installed. The APU inhabits a space
above the aft equipment bay in the left rear fuselage, and adds
approximately 240 pounds to the aircraft's empty weight. The
installation doesn't detract from the available baggage space, but the
APU weight could impose aft CG restrictions for some operators.
Alternatively, a 160-pound freon air conditioner may be installed.