The Bombardier Lear Jet 45 is a twin-engine executive jet aircraft for up to 10 passengers.
William P. Lear, Sr. initiated in 1959 the development of the Lear Jet a
small jet aircraft, based on the known structural quality of a Swiss
strike-fighter, the FFA P.16. The Lear Jet Model accommodated two
crewmembers and five passengers in its basic executive model. This Lear
Jet Model 23 Continentals was the first small jet aircraft to enter mass
production. Originally the Lear Jet had to be assembled by the Flug- und
Fahrzeugwerke FFA AG in Altenrhein, Switzerland, from components
manufactured there, in the U.S.A., Japan and elsewhere. Problems with
suppliers and production tooling in Switzerland the European assembly
plans having been abandoned in 1962. Lear compelled to shift assembly of
the new aircraft to Wichita, Kansas, U.S.A. Nine months after work on
the project had begun by Lear Jet Industries, the first prototype of
this business transport, N801L, flew on 7 October 1963, from Wichita's
Mid-Continent Airport. The original Learjet was destroyed in June 1964
when it crashed at takeoff with a Federal Aviation Administration pilot
at the controls. The cause of the accident was determined to be pilot
error—retraction of the jet's lift spoilers was overlooked. However, the
second prototype and first production Learjet Model 23, N802L, flew
first on 5 March 1964 and received formal FAA certification on 31 July 1964.
The first delivery of a Learjet Model 23 was to Chemical and Industrial
Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA was on 13 October 1964. As the
private jet market became more competitive, Lear Jet had difficulties
remaining profitable and substantial operating losses accumulated over
the first few years of production. In 1967, the company was sold to
Gates Rubber Company of Denver, Colorado, and renamed the Gates Learjet
Corporation. Gates Learjet produced the Learjet line until 1987 and
since 1990, the jets have been produced by the Canadian corporation
Bombardier under the name of Learjet, Inc. Developments out of the basic
Learjet Model 23 which entered production with Lear Jet Industries and
or Gates Learjet corporation were the Models 24, 25, 25D, 28, 29, 31, 35
and 36. When Bombardier took over the Lear Jet production the Models 31,
35, 36 and derivates of these Models remained in production. In 1992
Bombardier Aerospace owned Learjet Inc. started development of the Model 45.
Five aircraft were assigned to the test program and the Model 45 prototype
N45XL flew first on 7 October 1995; 32 years after the Learjet Model 23
prototype. US FAA certification (with many restrictions) was granted on
22 September 1997. Final approval followed on 6 May 1998. The first customer
aircraft was delivered in January 1998. The Learjet 45 accommodates a flight crew
of two and main cabin seating for eight to 10 passengers in a corporate
configuration at a max. cruise speed of Mach 0.81/867 km/h.
The normal cruise speed of the Learjet 45 is Mach 0.79/846 km/h.
Over 250 Learjet 45 are produced.
On 29 March 2001, Gold Air International / Richer Jet was noticed at Groningen
Airport Eelde in the Netherlands, with the Lear Jet 45 G-JRJR. The 1999-built Learjet 45
s/n 45-055 was registered N45LR on 12 November 1999. After the registration N45LR was
cancelled on 24 January 2001, the aircraft was registered the same day in the UK as G-JRJR with
Richer Jet Ltd. On 3 January 2003, the G-JRJR was reregistered to G-OLDF with Gold Air International
Ltd. Gold Air operates a fleet of executive jets, including 5 Learjet 45 aircrafts out of
London-Biggin Hill; Farnborough; Cambridge in the UK and Dublin in Ireland.