Learjet is a name that inspires a feeling of confidence and quality engineering in the minds of jet enthusiasts around the world. Founded in 1962 by Bill Lear and quickly finding a foothold in the private jet market when it was still in its initial stages, Learjet has collectively produced over 3000 aircraft. Going through different phases of ownership throughout the years, one of the constants in this company’s journey has been its consistent production of dependable aircraft that have set the industry standard so high that the competition has had a hard time keeping up. Since 1990, they have been under the ownership of Bombardier Aviation, a Canadian aviation company.
Learjet was one of the pioneers of early private jet technology. In fact, Lear’s preliminary design of the Marvel, an aircraft based on an experiment on American military aircraft provided a substitute for fuselage-mounted turbojet engines in the form of ducted fan turboshaft engines. While being an innovative step, it was eventually scrapped in favor of the FFA P-16. The first aircraft that rolled off the belt from Learjet was the Learjet 23. It was a 6 to 8-seater aircraft and was quickly followed by the Model 24 and 25. Today, we will be talking about the Learjet 35. One of the most popular aircraft of all time.
With the first production model being released in 1974, the production for the 35 ran for 21 years and ended in 1994. Selling over 738 35s and 36s, the long production run was complemented by steady demand throughout. Nearly 3 decades after its production ended, the Learjet 35 remains one of the most popular choices to fly in style in the skies and is in high demand for charter. Being an older aircraft, it has become a more budget-conscious choice for people who want to fly private but do not want to compromise on luxury.
One of the things that define the dependable character of the Learjet 35 is its wide usage as a military aircraft. In fact, 38 are in use by the US Air Force and 18 by the US Air National Guard. In fact, there are militaries across the world that have these aircraft under their usage. These include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, United Arab Emirates Air Force, Italian Air Force, Italian Army, Bulgarian Air Force, and Polish Medical Air Rescue.
For a jet of its age, the Learjet is still extremely capable. A range of over 3200 nautical miles stands as a testament to that fact. The passenger capacity of 8 passengers is also extremely impressive as well. A low fuel burn rate is also touted as one of the reasons for its enduring popularity. About 40 cubic feet of baggage space is available. The cabin has a height of 4.3 feet, a width of 4.9 feet, and is nearly 13 feet long. Most impressively, however, the 35 is able to produce a thrust of 3500 pounds and a takeoff weight is at 18,000 pounds. The powerful Honeywell TFE731-2-2B engines are able to propel the 35 to a top speed of 872 km/h or 542 miles per hour.
The central thesis of the 35 seems to be ‘do more with less’. The greatest evidence of the sheer dependability of the Learjet 35 is the fact that it was used by the military for the transport of VIPs as well. If you are being trusted to transport people of high importance around the globe, then surely you must have done something right.
From the outside, the aircraft has a design that shows its age in an elegant fashion. The 12-meter wingspan and nearly 15 meters of length give it a rather hefty appearance. There are several after-market modifications that one can opt into provided by Raisbeck Engineering and Avcon Industries.
For a buyer interested in a Learjet 35 in 2022, the most important component is the price. A good quality example can be bought for less than one million dollars. While this price might seem like a bargain to most people, it comes with the added cost of having an older aircraft. As is the case with any piece of machinery that has been around for some time, maintenance costs are expected to be slightly on the higher side of things. Now comes the number that is perhaps the most important and that is the charter cost of the Learjet 35. On average, you can expect to pay over 3000 USD per hour for this magnificent jet.
The Learjet 35 continues to be a mainstay in the private jet charter industry because of its economical fuel usage and comfortable cabin experience. As time has passed, the 35 has slowly made its way into the pantheon of great aircraft and continues to solidify its status to this day.