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Learjet 60


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Learjet 60 takes off
Learjet 60 takes off
Learjet 60 lands at London Luton Airport, England
Learjet 60 parked at Filton Airfield, Bristol, England

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The Learjet 60 is a mid-size cabin, medium range business jet aircraft manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace in Wichita, Kansas, USA. The Learjet 60 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada model 305A turbo fan engines producing 4,600 total pounds of thrust. The manufacturer notes the range of the aircraft at with NBAA reserves, ISA, with 4 passengers and 2 crew. The Learjet 60 does not have the range for direct transoceanic flights from the United States , although it can cross the Atlantic from Newfoundland to the British Isles . The current production Learjet 60XR costs approximately $13.3 million.

Development

The Learjet 60 is an improved version of the Learjet 55 , with a longer fuselage and more powerful engines . It first flew in June 1991 and received FAA certification in January 1993.

The modifications that converted the Learjet Model 55 into a Model 60 resulted from an aerodynamics improvement program and a need to increase the capacity of the Learjet product line. Several of these modifications were a first for Learjet, including an all new inboard wing cuff added to the inboard sections of the “Longhorn” wing and an all new wing-to-body fairing . By increasing the wing chord and the leading edge droop, the wing cuff improved handling during approach and landing while the wing-to-body fairing reduced the interference drag between the wing and the fuselage . Since the engines were new for this aircraft, a new engine pylon had to be designed.

The lines of the cockpit have not changed but the fuselage was lengthened. In addition, the blend between the fuselage and the empennage was all new. While it appears as if area ruling was the intention of the blending, the blend design was really driven by attaching the original Learjet Model 35 empennage onto the larger Learjet Model 60 fuselage.

The final aerodynamic improvements to the Model 60 included the creation of the distinctive "Ogive " winglet trailing edge. This lengthening of the chord near the interface of the winglet and the wing improved the interaction of the wing’s pressure spike with the winglet’s pressure spike. The result was a significant lowering of the drag in this area and a significant improvement of the wing's efficiency. On the prior “Longhorn” wing the interference between the winglet and the wing nearly canceled the effects of the winglet. The single ventral fin was also replaced with two ventral fins that Learjet called "Delta Fins" to improve stall characteristics and promote aerodynamic stability.

The Learjet 60 is notable for its time-to-climb performance climbing to 41,000 feet (12,497 m) in 18.5 minutes at maximum weight. It also distinguished as the last legacy Learjet, using the wing that designer Bill Lear adapted from the Swiss military aircraft, the FFA P-16 . The next generation Learjet is the Learjet 85 and is an all new design by Bombardier Aerospace slated for delivery in 2013.

Production of the Learjet 60 ended in 2007 after 314 aircraft had been built. The Learjet 60XR is the current model in production from Bombardier Aerospace .

Learjet 60XR

Bombardier launched a new variant in 2005 designated the Learjet 60XR and following certification deliveries started in 2007. The Learjet 60XR has an upgraded cabin, Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 advanced avionics suite and three disc steel wheel brakes.

Raisbeck Engineering is currently in the final stages of developing an aft fuselage locker for the Learjet 60 and 60XR. Slated for first quarter 2011 delivery, this modification under a supplemental type certificate increases luggage capacity 300 pounds and includes two separate compartments. The forward compartment is nearly long and the aft compartment long. This modification is performed without any loss of performance according to Raisbeck Engineering.

The July 2008 issue of Flying magazine features the plane.

Operators

Civilian

;Delta Private Jets

Charter business jet company wholly owned by Delta Air Lines operating Learjet 60 aircraft.

ExecuJet Aviation Group

Worldwide business jet management and charter company operating Learjet 60 and 60XR aircraft.

;FlexJet

Fractional business jet company wholly owned by Bombardier Aerospace operating fifteen Learjet 60 and 60XR aircraft.

VistaJet

Worldwide business jet charter company operating Learjet 60XR aircraft.

Hop-A-Jet Worldwide Jet Charter

Private business jet charter company operating Learjet 60 (4), Learjet 55 (2), Learjet 35 (2), Learjet 45 (2) and Challenger 604 (3) aircraft.

Government

;Macedonia

One Learjet 60 delivered in April 2005 to replace the lost King Air 200 . Used by the Government for VIP transport.

;United States of America

Operates six Learjet 60 aircraft under the Federal Aviation Administration performing airborne accuracy checks of navigational facilities.

Incidents and accidents

* On September 19, 2008, a Learjet 60 crashed while taking off from Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Columbia, South Carolina .. Performers Travis Barker and DJ AM were injured, while four others were killed in the crash. According to the Federal Aviation Administration , as the plane was departing the airport, air traffic controllers saw sparks emanating from the plane, which went off the runway, smashed through a fence, crossed a nearby road, slammed into an embankment and caught fire.

After the post accident investigation the Federal Aviation Administration issued new directives for operators of the Learjet 60 and 60XR aircraft to check tire pressures every four days. This is due to the Learjet 60 models having experienced "more than twice the number of tire failure events" than the Learjet model 30 series, and generally have greater "vulnerability to damage due to a burst tire" than other types of business jets.