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Bombardier takes Learjet 85 mockup on tour


A mockup of the new $20 million Learjet 85 drew about 100 prospective buyers at a stop in Chicago last week, one of several such events across the nation to drum up interest in the plane, which is slated to start deliveries next year. The business jet is larger inside with a greater range than previous Learjet models and can carry four passengers and crew on a transcontinental flight, or up to eight people on shorter trips. The Learjet 85 uses carbon fiber composites for large parts of its fuselage and wing structures, a first for a business jet. Flight testing is slated to start soon, with certification and deliveries in the second half of 2013. Bigger overall than the current-model Learjet 65, the new Learjet 85 is meant to fill a niche in mid-size business jets between the other Learjet models and the larger Challenger 300, all of which are made by Bombardier. The jet features a glass cockpit that uses iPads to display charts and approach plates, while passengers will have wireless internet access and on-demand entertainment options.,0,6666143.column