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2023 | Book

The Learjet History

Beginnings, Innovations and Utilization

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About this book

Learjet 24 (24-123, N3731)

Credit: Paul Bowen

This book offers an unique, comprehensive retrospective on the Learjet aircraft, from the establishment by Bill Lear in the sixties, to its slow demise in 2021. It accompanies readers on a unique journey through the configuration changes, and advanced technological applications that have transformed business jets and their market in the last sixty years. Important insights are given into numerous patents and innovations that have shaped the development of new technologies and aerodynamic improvements such as the winglet. Furthermore, this book presents many special missions carried out by the Learjet family, such as VIP, business and ambulance flights, research and military projects, and the use of Learjet in aerobatics, as well as aerial photography and cinematography. With a great number of original photographs and drawings, interesting events, stories and anecdotes, this book provides today’s aeronautical and systems engineers and test pilots with an invaluable source of information and inspiration. Yet, it also offers a compelling reading to students, professionals and scientists in the aerospace field as well as to curious readers with a general interest in aeronautics.

Learjet 31A (31-131, N31LR)

Credit: Paul Bowen

Table of Contents

Frontmatter
1. Introduction
Abstract
The innovation of Learjet exemplifies technologies that were developed after World War II taking advantage of military developed technological advances. Microwaves and computers are examples of such products that have evolved and become common on airplanes. The Raytheon Radarange microwave oven was invented in 1946 using short-range radar technology Raytheon developed for the military war effort.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
2. Beginnings
Abstract
The Learjet success story started in Switzerland. It is a dramatic chapter in aviation history how Switzerland built its own fighter jets. Today, it has almost been forgotten that Switzerland once had all the prerequisites to build such fighter planes within the country.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
3. Swiss American Aviation Corporation (1962–1963)
Abstract
The period of time that Bill Lear developed the company under three different company names was eventful as well as ambitious. During the course, Swiss American Aviation Corporation (SAAC) was first renamed as Lear Jet Corporation and then as Lear Jet Industries, Inc., before Bill Lear sold the company he built [1] Table 3.1, Bill Lear’s Milestones, is useful in understanding the chronological events in certifying the Lear Jet Model 23 and maturing the company to compete with other airplane companies with far greater resources.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
4. Lear Jet Corporation (1963–1966)
Abstract
Although not considered realistic, the target date for Lear Jet first flight was to be on Bill Lear’s birthday on June 26, 1963. Within about 50 days of the target date, he was asked by an acquaintance at Douglas whether he had considered “sonic” fatigue failure of the cruciform tail.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
5. Lear Jet Industries Incorporated (1966–1969)
Abstract
Lear Jet Corporation was renamed Lear Jet Industries Inc. on September 19, 1966. By early 1967, Bill Lear was negotiating with Charles “Charlie” Cassius Gates, Jr., president of the Gates Rubber Company headquartered in Denver, Colorado.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
6. Gates Learjet Corporation (1969–1987)
Abstract
Learjet 25A received type certificate on May 19, 1970 (ECR 980), Learjet 25B and 25C were FAA type certificated on September 4, 1970. Learjet 25D and 25F received FAA type certificate on May 20, 1976.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
7. Learjet Corporation (1988–1990)
Abstract
On September 9, 1987, Integrated Resources, Inc. acquires Gates Learjet Corporation as a private company.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
8. Bombardier Learjet (1990–2022)
Abstract
With reference to Sect. 7.​3, Integrated Resources Inc. filed for bankruptcy in February 1990 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
9. Special Mission Learjets
Abstract
The Learjet Models 23 to 36A were ideally suited for special missions on the basis of their characteristics and robust construction. As discussed in the previous sections the wings are derived from those of the Swiss P-16 combat plane and allow external loads of up to 450 kg to be mounted under each wing.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
10. Learjet Family Overview (1963–2022)
Abstract
The Learjet family is one of the most recognizable business jets with its memorable iconic look.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
11. Learjet Aerobatics and Demonstrations
Abstract
Being a major contributor to the Learjet project and one of the first pilots to receive a Learjet Type Rating in November 1964, Bill Lear commissioned legendary US pilot Clay Lacy to become the Learjet Sales Manager for the California Airmotive Corporation at the Van Nuys Airport which was headed by Allen Paulson.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
12. Aerial Photography and Cinematography
Abstract
Clay Lacy had made a name for himself in another area. In the mid-sixties, he began shooting with his Learjet 24–012 (Fig. 11.2) air-to-air footage for Douglas Aircraft.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
13. International Government Liason Learjets
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
14. Business Jet Market Development
Abstract
Lear Jet 23-001 (N801L) rollout on September 15, 1963 and the first flight was on October 7, 1963 exactly 9 months after assembly began.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
15. Learjet Events
Abstract
Executive Jet Airways was founded in 1964 in Columbus, Ohio. The name was later changed to Executive Jet Aviation (EJA).
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
16. Stories that Should Be Told by Learjet Family Members
Abstract
Learjet went into a tail spin trying to figure what is happening to Learjet to crashes one after another.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
17. Piaggio-Douglas PD.808 A Striking Resemblance
Abstract
A small side note may be allowed. A striking resemblance of the original SAAC-23 Lear/Jet project [1, 2] with its tip tanks and cruciform tail (Figs. 3.13 and 3.15) to the largely unknown Piaggio-Douglas project PD.808 “Vespa Jet” (Figs. 17.1 and 17.2) is very noticeable.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
18. Conclusions
Abstract
On May 14, 1978, Bill Lear died of leukemia. Lear made aviation history in so many ways. Harry Truman, the former president of the United States, made the effort to meet with Bill and Moya Lear to congratulate him for achieving the Collier Trophy, in 1949, for developing the F-5 autopilot. Lear is also noted for inventing direction finders and lightweight radios and other avionic components. He also is credited with creating the eight-track stereo tape player and cartridge system, a multibillion dollar industry in the late 1970s.
Peter G. Hamel, Gary D. Park
Backmatter
Metadata
Title
The Learjet History
Authors
Prof. Dr. Peter G. Hamel
Gary D. Park
Copyright Year
2023
Electronic ISBN
978-3-031-06031-1
Print ISBN
978-3-031-06030-4
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-06031-1

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