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C-FEMT Gates LearJet 36A c/n 024 - Fox Flight Inc. - Groningen Airport Eelde in Holland - 18 May 2009 Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ)

The Gates Learjet 36A is a twin-engine executive jet aircraft for up to six 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. The Learjet 35 is a stretched, turbofan powered development of the initial Learjet models, the 23, 24 and 25. The Learjet 36 is basically a Learjet 35 with increased range. This increase is possible through the removal of two seats for an extra fuel tank. The Learjet 36A is a further development and has upgraded engines and a higher maximum gross weight. The Learjet 36A accommodates a flight crew of two and main cabin seating for six passengers in a corporate configuration at a max. cruise speed of Mach 0.81/852 km/h. The economical cruise speed of the Learjet 36A is 774 km/h. The Learjet 36A was introduced in 1976, replacing the Learjet 36. Military versions of the Learjet 36A are the R-21A and the U-21A. The R-21A is a reconnaissance version equipped with a long-range oblique photography cameras, SLAR and a survellance camera system. The U-21A is a utility transport, training version.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. Until 1994, when the production of the Model 36A ended, 64 Learjet 36 and Learjet 36A were built.

On 15 May 2009, the 1976-built Gates Learjet 36A C-FEMT came in at Groningen Airport Eelde in the Netherlands. Learjet 36A C-FEMT was operated by Fox Flight air and ground ambulance on a ambulance flight out of Toronto, Canada, via Keflavic, Iceland. On 18 May, the aircraft departed to Canada.

page last updated: 08-08-2009
Photo Copyright © Jack Poelstra, the Netherlands

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