Wings Magazine

NIAR, Learjet partner for Bombardier Learjet 85 development testing

Feb. 19, 2009 – The National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University has entered into a relationship with Learjet to provide material and structural testing and certification for the new Learjet 85* midsize business jet.

February 19, 2009  By Administrator

NIAR archive photo
NIAR archive Photo

The National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State
University has entered into a relationship with Learjet to provide
material and structural testing and certification for the new Learjet
85* midsize business jet. Through a long-term contract, NIAR will be
involved in the FAA certification of the aircraft from the testing of
coupon samples to the structural certification of full-scale components.

The agreement with Bombardier Learjet represents the largest single
NIAR industry contract in Wichita State history, according to President
Don Beggs.
Launched on October 30, 2007, the new Learjet 85 aircraft will be the
first Learjet to feature an all-composite structure and will be the
first all-composite structure business jet designed for type
certification under U.S. Federal Aviation Administration FAR Part 25.

David Coleal, Bombardier Learjet’s Vice President and General Manager,
said, "This will be the largest, fastest Learjet ever built. We’re very
fortunate to have one of the nation’s leading composite centers here at
Wichita State to work with us on this innovative project."

On September 17, 2008, Learjet announced it would assume complete
responsibility for the detail design and manufacturing of all primary
and secondary structures for Learjet 85 aircraft, with much of this
work to occur in Wichita.


"Learjet has long been a supporter of technology advancements within
NIAR", said Ralph Acs, Vice President, Learjet 85. "This new
partnership will strengthen this relationship and supports the plan to
make the Learjet 85 a technologically advanced aircraft."

Learjet is a core member of NIAR’s Industry Advisory Council. The
council, made up of the vice presidents of engineering at Learjet,
Boeing IDS, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, and Spirit AeroSystems, provides
input and feedback on the research focus and laboratory capabilities at

"It’s good to see these companies benefit directly from NIAR’s
technology," said Dr. John Tomblin, NIAR Executive Director. "The
laboratory capabilities that Learjet has helped establish will be used
for the advancement of this new aircraft."

NIAR is well-known for its composite material research and
certification capabilities. The Composites and Advanced Materials
Laboratory is the institute’s largest lab in terms of staffing,
capability and investments/expenditures. The lab specializes in
developing low-cost manufacturing processes while providing thermal,
mechanical and analyses tools.

"I’m delighted Bombardier Learjet has selected NIAR as a key partner in
the development of its new business jet," said Beggs. "It’s a tribute
to the outstanding scientists, engineers and technicians at NIAR, who
are among the best in the world."

"This is outstanding recognition of the Wichita State model of
developing research and testing capabilities directly in response to
current and anticipated industry and government needs," said WSU
Provost Gary Miller.

As the lead institution in the FAA’s Center of Excellence for
Composites and Advanced Materials, NIAR performs a large majority of
the FAA’s composite research and has worked with numerous aircraft
manufacturers to develop efficient composite materials. NIAR is also
the headquarters for the NASA National Center for Advanced Materials
Performance (NCAMP).

In addition to utilizing NIAR’s experienced Composites Laboratory, the Learjet 85 aircraft’s certification process will also involve NIAR’s Full-Scale Structural Testing Laboratory whose staff is the most qualified in aviation industry, with more than 400 years of combined testing experience with unique experience in the certification of composite aircraft.

NIAR’s 16 laboratories, which focus primarily on airframe technology, occupy more than 150,000 square feet of lab space and employ nearly 200 full-time research scientists and engineers and 150 part-time laboratory technicians.

"With their unique skill-set and history involving composite material placement into aircraft production, NIAR was a natural choice for Learjet 85 material development program," said Acs.

"This relationship provides a unique opportunity to utilize many of NIAR’s research capabilities in one extensive program," Tomblin said. "We look forward to using this advantage to help develop the Learjet 85 as one of the most efficient and innovative new business jets."

Courtesy of Bombardier Learjet

About the Learjet 85
Designed to provide a larger, more comfortable cabin than any existing midsize aircraft, the Learjet 85 business jet will offer eight passengers a stand-up cabin built to ensure superior productivity and comfort.

Powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B engines, the aircraft engines each boast 6,100 lb. (2,772 kg) of take-off thrust, while the low-emission combuster offers reduced environmental impact. The clean-sheet Learjet 85 aircraft targets a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82 and a transcontinental range of up to 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 km)*.

The new Learjet 85 aircraft flight deck combines advanced technology with superior design elements for a cockpit environment unlike any other midsize jet. The latest in technological advancements from Rockwell Collins – the new Pro Line Fusion avionics suite – is once again paired with superior design aesthetics to create the ultimate Learjet flight control environment.

The National Institute for Aviation Research is a prestigious state-of-the-art aerospace research and development laboratory with global reach and expertise in research, design, testing, and certification. The Institute’s clientele includes many of the world’s aerospace manufacturers, NASA and the FAA. It is the largest aviation R&D academic institution in America.  The National Institute for Aviation Research is an unincorporated division of Wichita State University.


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