Krzysztof Kuska: The Learjet 85 first took into to the skies on the 9th of April. How long will the flight test program take and what are the main steps in this testing phase before the aircraft can be certified?
Aurélie Sabatié: The first flight is just one of many flights that the first flight test vehicle will undertake. The next steps consist in testing the capabilities of the aircraft’s design against its actual performance, as it relates to airspeed, load factors and altitude – increasing the scope with every flight. However, because of the competitiveness of the business aircraft industry, we do not disclose details about the flight test program.
KK: Learjet 85 will be the latest model in the Learjet family and you are advertising it as a real game changer in the midsize jet segment. What are the main innovations compared to the previous models?
AS: The Learjet 85 aircraft is a clean-sheet aircraft program that will redefine the midsize category, by providing a larger, more comfortable cabin than current jets in this category, featuring a true double-club arrangement.
It is the first FAA Part 25-certified business jet with primarily composite fuselage and wings, allowing the use of complex curves in the aircraft cross-section, thinner walls to maximize cabin volume, and optimized placement of windows and other cutouts, to increase passenger comfort.
It also features state-of-the-art flight deck design and technologies (“Vision” Flight Deck) and next generation engines (Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B) for optimum performance and operating economics while maintaining low noise and emission levels.
KK: We live in a world in which there is an ongoing race for greener, more efficient aircraft. Are there any innovations in this area?
AS: The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307B turbofan engines deliver superior performance, outstanding dispatch reliability, and excellent operating economics. They also combine superior fuel efficiency and excellent durability, as well as a very low noise signature and low emissions for greater economics.
These engines are among the greenest engines on the market with operating performances 30% below the most stringent NOx emissions levels.
KK: One of the most important things for a business jet is the cabin compartment arrangement. What are the main benefits of Learjet 85 over its predecessors?
AS: The Learjet 85 aircraft’s cabin is the largest, tallest and widest than any other Learjet aircraft. Its cabin offers a true stand-up, walk-around cabin to accommodate 8 passengers. The double-club arrangement with fully reclinable seats makes it comfortable, sophisticated and efficient.
KK: Business jets often start and land on small airfields and the noise level is important for the local communities. Are there any improvements in this matter?
AS: The PW307B engine installed on the Learjet 85 aircraft is one of the greenest engines on the market today, offering a combination of superior fuel efficiency and excellent quality, as well as a very low noise signature and low emissions for greater economics. The PW307B engine satisfies the latest 14CFR Part 36 Stage 4 FAA guidelines on noise emissions.
KK: What is the percentage of composite materials in Learjet 85? Were composites important during the design stage?
AS: The business aviation industry is the most competitive sector of aerospace, and for competitive reasons we prefer not to state what proportion of the aircraft is made of composite material. We can say however that it is made of primarily composite material.
KK: What are the main changes for the pilots? What innovations are introduced in Learjet 85 which help the crew to fly safer and more efficient?
AS: The Learjet 85 aircraft features state-of-the-art flight deck design and technologies led by the Vision Flight Deck. This flight deck combines the latest technological advancements led by the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite with superior design aesthetics.
It has been designed to improve pilot performance and situational awareness, reduce pilot workload and increase mission flexibility.
Some of these features include key advancements, such as the Synthetic Vision System, using the largest high-resolution displays available, a progressive human-machine interface, and a broad array of new communications, navigation, and surveillance capabilities.
It also incorporates information management technologies to ease maintenance and flight operational tasks, improving efficiency.
KK: Thank you for the interview.
AS: Thank you very much!