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Celebrating Kansas Aviation History, News & Aviation Careers

Learjet Timeline

March 30, 2003 by Carl Chance

A Brief Record of Learjet’s Progression Skyward

Late 1950s

U.S. entrepreneur and inventor, William P. Lear, Sr., forms Swiss American Aviation Corporation (SAAC) with intention of designing and manufacturing SAAC-23 corporate jet aircraft.


Lear moves S.A.A.C. from Switzerland to Wichita, Kansas.

On February 7, assembly of Learjet #1 begins.

On March 9, S.A.A.C. occupies new Wichita plant.


Lear Jet Corporation


On April 26, S.A.A.C. renamed Lear Jet Corporation.

On October 7, first flight of first Learjet, Model 23


On October 13, first production Model 23 delivered.

On November 30, Lear Jet Corporation becomes publicly owned.


On February 24, first flight of Model 24.

On March 17, model 24 becomes first business aircraft certificated under
FAR Part 25.

On March 29, 100th Lear Jet delivery.

On May 23-26, Standard Model 24 circles earth in 50 hours, 20 minutes,
flying time.

On August 12, first flight of Model 25.

Lear Jet Industries


On September 19, Lear Jet Corporation renamed Lear Jet Industries Inc.

On November 9, model 24A receives FAA certification.


On April 10, Gates Rubber Company acquires controlling interest in Lear
Jet Industries.

On July 21, Gates Aviation to market Lear Jet worldwide.

On October 10, model 25 receives FAA type certification.


On November 27, 200th Lear Jet delivered.

On December 17, model 24B awarded FAA type certificate.


On April 2, William P. Lear, Sr. resigns from Lear Jet Industries board.

Gates Learjet Corporation


On December 2, Lear Jet Industries Inc. merges with Gates Aviation to
become Corporation Gates Learjet.


On July 17, FAA certifies Model 24D (replaces Model 24B).

On September 4, models 25B and 25C awarded FAA type certificates.


On May 19, first flight of Garret AiResearch TFE-731-2 turbofan-powered
Model 25.

On October 6, Presidential "E" award presented by U.S.
Department of Commerce for Performance in export sales.


On January 11, Lear Jet becomes first business jet approved for gravel
runway operations.


On January 7, tenth anniversary of Learjet factory opening observed with
delivery of 360th aircraft.

On August 22, first flight of Model 35.


On July 9, models 35 and 36 receive FAA type certification.


On January 1, Gates Learjet leads business jet industry in total aircraft
delivered for tenth consecutive year.

On April 8, 500th Learjet delivery sets industry milestone.


On May 17-19, model 36 flies around the world in 57 hours, 26 minutes.

On August 2, FAA announces certification of last of six new Century III
series Learjet models.

On September 14, Learjet increases production to 10 aircraft a month.


On April 15, FAA approves Learjet 24E/F and 25D/F operations to 15,545
metres (51,000 ft.) highest level ever achieved in U.S. civil aviation.

On August 24, first flight of Model 28.


On May 14, William P. Lear, Sr. dies.


On January 29, models 28 and 29 awarded FAA type certificates.

On April 19, first flight of Model 54/55/56 series.


On March 28, 1,000th aircraft delivered.

On September 23, new Model 25G introduced.


On March 18, FAA certificates Learjet Longhorn Model 55.


On June 9-18, first production Model 25G enters demonstration service, breaking
long-distance speed and fuel consumption records.


On March 9, FAA certifies Model 55ER, first in planned series of
extended-range versions.

On May 26, FAA certifies Model 55LR.

On July 7, standard production Model 55 breaks six time-to-climb and
altitude records in its weight class.

On September 19, U.S. Department of Defence orders 80 Model 35As for
USAF’s Operational Support Aircraft program.


On July 11, startup of high technology Aerospace Division announced.

On September 18, commercial aircraft production suspended until
inventories reduced.


On March 19, first of new Model 55s featuring numerous improvements,

On September 10, Aerospace Division selected to build components for Space
Shuttle’s main booster rocket.


On February 21, corporate headquarters relocated to Tucson, Arizona.

On February 28, Production restarted at Tucson and Wichita facilities.

Verdana;color:black’>Integrated Acquisition – Learjet Corporation


On September 9, Integrated Acquisition, Inc. acquires Gates Learjet
Corporation, now a private company.


On April 4, name changed to Learjet Corporation.

On August 1, FAA certifies Learjet 31.


On January 1, move of all aircraft production from Tucson to Wichita

Verdana;color:black’>Bombardier Inc.


On June 22, Bombardier announces conclusion of negotiations for purchase of
Learjet Corporation.

On June 29, Bombardier purchase of Learjet Corp. completed.

On October 10, first flight of Learjet* 60 mid-size jet.


On June 14, new Flight Test Center completed at Wichita.

On July 25, Learjet 31A receives FAA certification.


On September 14, Learjet 45 unveiled.


On January 15, Learjet 60 receives FAA certification.

On April 5, first Learjet 60 delivered.


On May 16, Learjet 60 completes round-the-world demonstration flight.

On October 3, Learjet celebrates 30th Anniversary of delivery of first
Learjet aircraft.


On April 4, Learjet 60 is top selling mid-size jet in 1994.

On October 7, first flight of Learjet 45.


On September 22, Learjet 45 receives FAA certification.

Courtesy Bombardier Aerospace/Learjet by Dan Demott.

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