The high-performance Bombardier Learjet 75 aircraft has set a world speed record in its class, flying round trip between New York and Los Angeles*. The flight, piloted by two members of Bombardier’s flight operations demonstration team, Ed Hillis and Jeff Triphahn, was staged to mark the 50th anniversary of Clay Lacy’s 1965 record-setting transcontinental round-trip flight. To date, aircraft in the Learjet family have accumulated 111 world speed records.
The attempt, which took place on September 10, 2015, and followed the original 4,946-mile (7,960-km) route but in reverse, beat Lacy’s flying time by 17 minutes. Lacy’s original flight in a Learjet 23 aircraft made aviation history, marking the first time a business jet made a round-trip flight across the U.S. between sunrise and sunset on the same day.
The Learjet 75 aircraft departed Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY at 8 a.m. EDT, flying at a maximum cruising speed of M 0.81. The aircraft touched down at Dwight D. Eisenhower Airport in Wichita for refuelling on both legs of the flight and also at Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles where Clay Lacy, flanked by the original Learjet 23 aircraft, was on hand to offer encouragement. The pilots returned to Westchester County Airport at 8:26 p.m. with more than adequate fuel reserves and a new record under their belts.
“The jet handled beautifully throughout the flight, from its superior performance at takeoff to its ability to cruise comfortably at close to the speed of sound with lots of extra pep,” said Captain Hillis.
“A pioneering spirit has long been associated with the Learjet name, and this achievement will go down in the record books – not only as this aircraft’s display of prowess, but also as the further evolution of the proud and enduring Learjet legend,” said David Coleal, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “We congratulate our pilots Ed Hillis and Jeff Triphahn on their new record and Clay Lacy on the 50th anniversary of his historic flight.”
The Learjet 23 aircraft, Learjet’s first model, entered into service on October 13, 1964 and ushered in a new market for modern business aircraft.