The Classic Lear Jet Foundation is made up of current, retired and former employees for admire the plane and company and formed a group to restore the first-ever production Learjet 23 delivered to a customer. Lear Jet, serial number 23-003, will be restored to flying condition in honor of the plane, the company and founder that have inspired so many.
The model was significant to the business and personal aviation industry. The success of the 23 led to other designs for the Lear Jet company and was integral in the budding bizav industry. The model inspired many other business jets, like the Model 24 which flew around the world and broke 18 international aviation records.Learjet 23
The new foundation hopes to restore the first delivered Learjet 23 to flying condition and is taking donations for their continued efforts to revive the plane.
The Learjet 23, Learjet's first model was introduced in 1964 and production ended in 1966 after 101 had been delivered. William Powell Lear, Sr. founded the Lear Jet Company after being inspired by Swiss P-16 aircraft. Production of the first Learjet 23 model began on Feb. 7, 1926 and the first flight took place on Oct. 7, 1963.
The original plane flew 194 hours during 167 separate flights, according to The Air and Space Museum. The prototype crashed soon after takeoff on June 4, 1964 after the pilot inadvertently deployed the wing spoilers while demonstrating engine failure on takeoff.
Since the incident was faulted to pilot error, the FAA still awarded the aircraft its type certificate on July 31, 1964. The first production aircraft was delivered on Oct. 13, 1964.
By 1966, 101 aircraft had been delivered and production ended. By 1998, only 39 models were estimated to still be in use. There were 27 to have been lost or damaged beyond repair through accidents. Learjet was acquired by Bombardier in 1990 and the final Learjet 75 Liberty was delivered in March 2022. The end of an era paved the way for Bombardier to focus on other lines like the Global or Challenger series.
The Model 23 was extremely successful in the new business and personal aviation market, paving the way for future models and breaking aviation records with each subsequent model. The Classic Lear Jet Foundation hopes to honor the legacy of this pioneer business jet and the legacy of its founder, Bill Lear.RELATED STORY:Last Learjet delivered to longtime buyer of the iconic line
Find out how to donate to the foundation to help restore a piece of aviation history…