Review: Bombardier Learjet 85

Bombardier's Learjet 85 is redefining the midsize market segment by introducing their first-ever all-composite structure

Bombardier's Learjet 85 is redefining the midsize market segment by introducing
their first-ever all-composite structure. The new material significantly enhances
both performance and passenger comfort by allowing greater cabin capacity and reduced

Outstanding strength-to-weight ratio, reduced maintenance, and extended service
life are but a few advantages of the all-composite airframe. Carbon fibre has also
been proven to offer superior aerodynamics due to its smoothness. The clean-sheet
Learjet 85 is expected to hit a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82, and a transcontinental
range of up to 5,556 km, allowing long trips from New York to London and London
to Moscow.

"The Learjet 85 aircraft's cabin features more volume and comfort than any exisiting
midsize," says Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft. The jet's
19-cubic metre cabin carries eight passengers, with plenty of space for standing
or sleeping. Learjet 85's 180 cm high ceiling affords ample headroom when walking,
and all eight seats are fully berthable, allowing for natural, recumbent resting

The interior is 10 percent wider and 4.4 percent taller than the Citation Sovereign.
In total, the Learjet 85 has 12 percent more cabin volume than the Hawker 900XP,
and 21 percent more than the Citation Sovereign. Large windows, measuring about
30.5 by 40.6 cm drench the sleek interior with light and increase the sense of spaciousness.
The double-club floorplan includes 76 cm pitch between seats, a roomy lavatory,
full service galley, and three storage closets providing in flight access to .85
cubic metres of storage space.

Comfort is coupled with power and reliability in the Learjet 85. Inside are two
Pratt & Whitney PW207B engines delivering 27,669 kg of take-off thrust. Recent developments
from Pratt and Whitney's engines make the PW207B a cost-saving and environmentally
responsible choice. The TALONTM low-emissions combuster and high-pressure turbine
disks yield improved efficiency.

Meanwhile, on the outside, the composite body resists corrosion and fatigue that
make metal vulnerable. In order to give their customers a fuller picture of the
new design's long-term performance, Bombardier plans to complete all fatigue testing
for determination of the Learjet 85's full airframe fatigue life by the time it
is certified. Many manufacturers only certify to a short initial fatigue life, then
pursue additional long-term testing after certification. The Learjet 85 is also
sturdier thanks to a reduced structural part count. A typical metal Learjet is comprised
of 14,000 parts. The composite Learjet 85 will have only about 1,000 parts.

Bombardier's new jet is customer driven, a clean-sheet design, and positioned
between the midsize Learjet 60 XR aircraft and the super-midsize Challenger 300
jet. The company has hired Switzerland's Grob Aerospace to help build the aircraft
prototypes, contributing world-renowned experience in developing composite aircraft
structures. Wind tunnel tests were underway last spring and several orders have
already been received.

  • Price - US$20.415 million (2015 price)
  • Passenger Seat - 8 (+2 optional) passengers / 2 crew
  • Range - 3,000 nm / 5,556 km
  • Engines - Two PW207B
  • Typical Cruise Speed - 0.82 Mach
  • Maximum Certified Altitude - 49,000 ft / 14,935 m
  • Cabin Height - 5.92 ft / 1.80 m
  • Cabin Width - 6.08 ft / 1.85 m
  • Cabin Length - 25 ft / 7.62 m
  • Cabin Volume - 665 cu ft / 18.80 cu m
  • Length - 68.15 ft / 20.77 m
  • Height - 19.21 ft / 5.86 m
  • Wingspan - 61.48 ft / 18.74 m
  • Max Takeoff Weight - 33,500 lb / 15,195 kg
  • Max Zero Fuel Weight - 24,200 lb / 10,977 kg
  • Max Payload - 2,700 lb / 1,225kg

Copyright © is part of the SPH Magazines Luxury Network