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A Guide to the Learjet

by Matt Falcus

The Leajet is perhaps one of the best-known of all the so-called biz jet aircraft in our skies.

Despite there now being many different manufacturers of biz jet and props, the Learjet is synonymous with the iconic lifestyle of the rich and famous, with its sleek lines and ability to whisk people off around the world.

 

History of Learjet

#OnThisDay in #aviationhistory: Oct 7, 1963. The prototype Model 23, N801L, made the first flight of a Lear Jet, a huge technological advance and a research tool that was significantly involved in the creation of business jet aviation. Three years later,

The origins of the Learjet come from the 1950s, when developments for a fast military jet turned into a design for an executive transport aircraft.

The design was led by Bill Lear and his team in Switzerland, but moved to Wichita, KS, in 1962 and became the Lear Jet Corporation.

The first model was the Learjet 23 which flew on 7 October 1963, followed by the 24 in February 1966 and 25 in August 1966, both derivatives of the original.

The Learjet features a sleek fuselage, with T-tail and rear-mounted engines either side of the fuselage. Its wings were also inspired by the fighter jet origins, and featured wingtip fuel tanks.

 

Enter the Gates

Gates Learjet 25D (N90LJ)

Learjet merged with Gates Rubber Company in April 1967, who bought 60% of the shares. In 1969 it was merged with Gates Aviation Corporation to become the Gates Learjet Corporation.

The company would soon develop the Learjet 35, one of its most successful models, and achieve massive sales across America and the rest of the world in the emerging executive jet market.

 

Sale to Bombardier

Bombardier Aerospace of Canada purchased the Gates Learjet Corporation in 1990.

From this stage, all aircraft were named Bombardier Learjets, with the Learjet 60 following the same year, and Learjet 45 in 1995.

Despite its purchase by a Canadian company, production remained at the Wichita facility, where support is still offered today.

The last Learjet was produced in March 2022, following an announcement the previous year. Ongoing support still offered for remaining operators.

 

Learjet Models

To date, the following Learjet models have been produced since the company’s inception in the 1960s, up to the final model in 2022.

Learjet 23 – 1964

101 built

Learjet 24 – 1966

81 built

Learjet 24B – 1968

49 built

Learjet 24D – 1970

99 built

Learjet 24E – 1976

16 built

Learjet 24F – 1976

13 built

Learjet 25 – 1967

John Davies – CYOW Airport Watch (GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html> or GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>), via Wikimedia Commons

78 built

Learjet 25B – 1970

102 built

Learjet 25C – 1970

25 built

Learjet 25D – 1976

140 built

Learjet 25G – 1980

23 built

Learjet 28 Longhorn – 1979

9 built

Learjet 31 – 1990

38 built

Learjet 31A – 1991

208 built

Learjet 35 – 1974

Private Gates Learjet 35A N565GG cn 35-501

64 built

Learjet 35A – 1976

612 built

Learjet 36 – 1974

17 built

Learjet 36A – 1976

46 built

Learjet 40 – 2003

134 built

Learjet 45 – 1998

N787CH Learjet 45XR s/n 45-266

454 built

Learjet 55 Longhorn – 1981

126 built

Learjet 55B Longhorn – 1986

8 built

Learjet 55C Longhorn – 1987

14 built

Learjet 60 – 1993

Learjet 60

318 built

Learjet 60XR – 2007

112 built

Learjet 70 – 2013

13 built

Learjet 75 – 2012

145 built

Learjet 85 – 2014

1 built; project cancelled.

 

Learjet is a legendary name in executive aircraft, or biz jets. Despite production having now ended, it will continue to be well known for many years to come, with aircraft likely to remain in service for at least another ten years.

 

Biz Jet Reference Guide

Airport Spotting Premium Members have access to our Biz Jet Reference Guide.

This downloadable document details all known biz jet types, variants and manufacturers, with stats, production dates and numbers built, as well as pictures of each model.

To find out more about becoming a Premium Member, and all of the extra content that will be available to you, click here: https://www.airportspotting.com/member/

 

 

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1 comment

Barry Ambrose June 22, 2022 - 5:02 pm

There were NOT 9 LJ 28’s built – it was just 5, with 4 LJ 29’s built…shame you didn’t mention the LJ 29’s !!

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