Stevens Aviation launches Lear4Ever program at GMU

Bombardier Learjet 35 with Universal Avionics EFI890R flight display and FMS UNS1L flight management system.

When Stevens Aviation began its Lear4Ever program last year, the company wanted to extend the life of some existing Learjet 35s. On Aug 26, Stevens held a grand unveiling to mark completion of its first Learjet 35 modified under the program.

Lear4Ever includes aerodynamic modifications and renovation of the Learjet 35's avionics, cabin and paint. Work on the 35-year-old aircraft is carried out at Stevens Aviation GMU (Downtown, Greenville SC).

Stevens Aviation COO Neal McGrail cuts the Lear4Ever cake after the official unveiling on Aug 26.

Each aircraft costs approximately $4.5 million, including purchase of the aircraft and all renovation and modification work. With the help of industry partners Raisbeck Engineering, L3 Communications, Avcon, Rockwell Collins and Universal Avionics, Stevens is installing new avionics, a cabin entertainment system and improved aerodynamics.

Universal Avionics COO Paul DeHerrera pays tribute to Stevens Aviation's Lear4Ever philosophy.

These modifications and a 12-year inspection have increased the life of the aircraft by 20 years. "We addressed issues of storage, outdated avionics systems and panel space constraint," said Stevens Aviation COO Neal McGrail in remarks at the unveiling.

Universal Avionics COO Paul DeHerrera added that the revitalized Learjets will have more advanced avionics than some new-production business jets in its class today. "Some of these technologies were never even dreamed of during the Learjet's conception," DeHerrera said.

For around $4.5 million, the Lear4Ever Learjet 35 offers a new luxurious interior for 6 passengers and 2 pilots.

"These are things like flight management with LAWS, LPV and approach capabilities, advanced high-res displays with video and graphics, synthetic vision, streaming weather, jets and charts with aircraft positions on the ground and in the air and TAWS and terrain look-ahead.

Most of these technologies are not even offered on new aircraft being delivered today." Universal Avionics supplied its EFI890R flight display and UNS1L flight management system for the program.

External modifications come from Raisbeck's ZR Lite with aft storage lockers and Avcon's ventral fins (red arrow).

The all-glass 3-panel EFI890R tackled the space constraint of the instrument panel. Modifications to the aircraft's aerodynamics came in the form of Raisbeck's ZR Lite package and Avcon's ventral fins. ZR Lite adds horizontal winglets and vortilons to the Learjet 35's wings.

Raisbeck Engineering Pres Sam Jantzen holds up the ZR Lite ad that appeared in Pro Pilot Aug 2008.

Vortilons are small fences on the leading edge of the wing which create a vortex over the top of the wing, increasing airflow over the ailerons and improving control of the aircraft. Avcon's ventral fins improve the yaw characteristics of the aircraft in forward flight much like a skeg on a sailboat.

Rockwell Collins Dir Sales Eastern US & Latin America Business and Regional Systems Michael Opheim (left) and L3 Communications Business Development Southeast Region Mark Linsley (right) express appreciation to Stevens for partnership in the Lear4Ever program.

Stevens addressed the issue of storage space in the aircraft by adding Raisbeck's external locker system. The conformal lockers designed for the 35 fit on the underside of the aircraft just below the engines. Under the program, Stevens takes the aircraft through an intensive upgrade and modernization process, resulting in a completely modernized aircraft. As McGrail put it, "We had the knowledge to install the upgrades and customers who said they wanted them."


GE Aviation has expanded its roles in the past year by introducing a business jet operations center and purchasing Czech engine manufacturer Walter Engines. The company builds piston engines and turboprops for GA, commercial and business aircraft. GE's business jet ops center is open 24/7 to customers of GE business jet engines, the CFM56 engine and Walter types. GE has also announced plans to increase the service support network for Walter engines.

General Electric has announced the first Walter M601 turboprop engine derivative since its purchase of the Czech company. The new derivative-the M601H-80-changes some of the materials used in the M601F variant's hot section compressor, generator nozzle guide vane and combustor liner. GE has also altered the design of these sections-these changes have led to a 7% increase in efficiency and improved temperature margin to improve hot day takeoff and high-altitude cruise speeds. These changes will also be offered as an upgrade to existing M601Fs.



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