The highly-regarded Bombardier Learjet 45, a mid-size business jet aircraft produced by the Learjet Division of Bombardier Aerospace, was the first all-new design after the original Learjet. It was also the Learjet Division’s leading product until the introduction of the Model 75 variant in 2012.
Bill Lear founded the American Aviation Corporation in 1960. The company was renamed the Learjet Corporation and moved to Kansas in 1962. One year later, the original Learjet made its first flight. Facilities opened in Tucson, Arizona in 1967, and Bombardier of Canada purchased the company in 1990, renaming it Learjet, Inc.
The Bombardier Learjet 45 has a 1,971-nautical-mile range at Mach 0.81 with four passengers on board. Designed around a flat-floor cabin, the aircraft has a non-circular cross-section for additional headroom. The traditional interior configuration includes eight passenger seats, in a double-club seating arrangement, an enclosed toilet, and a 15-cubic-foot baggage area, in addition to the external 50-cubic-foot baggage area.
The aircraft is powered by two DEEC-controlled Honeywell TFE731-20-AR turbofan engines, rated at 3,500 pounds thrust each. The recommended time between overhauls is 5,000 hours.
The Bombardier Learjet 45 took its first flight on October 7, 1995 and FAA certification was awarded in September 1997, followed by initial deliveries in mid-1998. In May 2002, four years after the Bombardier Learjet 45 entered service, the 200th airplane was delivered. In July 2002 Bombardier introduced the higher-gross-weight Learjet 45XR. The improved model received FAA certification in June 2004.
The Bombardier Learjet 45 is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics built around Honeywell’s Primus 1000. The flight and navigation information is displayed on four large screens that integrate engine instrument and crew alerting system data. The system enables maintenance crews to download diagnostic information directly to laptops, which accelerates troubleshooting of the avionics and engines.
The Bombardier Learjet 45 has retractable tricycle-type landing gear. The single nose wheel has steer-by-wire control and retracts forward. The twin wheel main landing gear units retract inwards and are equipped with anti-skid multiple-disc brakes.
Pilot Kent, who praises praised the cockpit layout and the aircraft’s handling qualities, says, “The airplane is great to hand-fly, with very little input to get response.”
According to Vref, over 450 Learjet 45/45s have been built. An early model Learjet 45 can cost around $2.6 million, while the asking price for a late-model Model 45XR is up to $9 million.
According to veteran pilot and writer Mark Huber, “Almost [two decades]after it was introduced, the Model 45’s value proposition remains unchanged. Once in a while, operators need patience and persistence when seeking parts and support, but most continue to believe that the airplane’s benefits outweigh the occasional pain of ownership.”