Continuing our reviews into the “first family” of Learjet business jets, as Bombardier prefer their fleet branded with the iconic Learjet name to be known, this year gave Bombardier an opportunity to revamp their entry-level Learjet provision with the 75 model set to replace its Learjet 45 elder.
Ownership or leasing of a Learjet needs no further clarification beyond the name, even to outsiders and non-enthusiasts of private aviation and luxury travel. The Bombardier brand has always operated comfortably within the medium size business jet market, and now the Canadian parent company has decided the interior cabin standards will evolve for its entry-level customers. The Learjet 75 is set to carry on the general design facets of the Learjet 45 airframe, complemented with a complete revamp of the avionics, pilot aids, luxury interior and Honeywell engine. Bombardier management have openly explained this as an attempt to bring them closer to the glamour and pristine of the Learjet 85 model.
Bombardier first unveiled a completed model of the 75 (along with the 70) at EBACE 2012, testing both models at their Wichita facility, whilst running all the upgraded components in different combinations on the earlier Learjet 45 flight tests. Bombardier still awaits early certification for the 75, but expects to be able to deliver the first order on an ambitious schedule, within the first half of 2013.
The upgrades of the Learjet 75, compared to its direct predecessor, include a 10% increase in engine thrust delivered by the Honeywell TF731 engine that cruises at Mach 0.81 and shortens the take-off distance by 12%. The winglets that were already a big selling point as the “evolution” on the older 45 design now have a wider cant by 2 degrees and themselves form a key part of the 75’s ability to fly 8 passengers with full fuel on board. With more or less the same cabin height and slightly increased width, the Learjet 75 continues its double-club seating tradition to ensure a comfortable and spacious meeting with the executive team. The light entertainment features include a full audio surround sound system that Bombardier promises will be one of the most noticeable and prominent entertainment features in-flight, thanks to the encompassing sound quality. The passenger electronics are, however, not the selling point in comparison to the avionics upgrades.
The Learjet 75 flight deck will now run with systems handed down to it from its elder cousins in Bombardier’s large business jet Global range. The Garmin G5000 avionics suite feature 3 high resolution screens, touch screen controllers and Bombardier’s Synthetic Vision system that was previously exclusively synonymous with the Global 5000 and 6000 jets.
Bombardier have let Lufthansa-Technik design the pop-up 7 inch touchscreens of the cabin management system, and they are eager to get to the first proper Learjet 75 flight test to establish their new entry-level range as a choice for customers to fly out of 5,000-ft runway airports and locations with the tough combination of hot weather and heavy altitude.