Although no longer in production, the iconic Learjet 70/75 pair are still sought-after, mid-sized business jets. Join me in taking a close look at them both.

A pre-owned Lear 70/75 fetches between $5.50 million and $9.25 million. Both are powered by aft-fuselage-mounted, twin Honeywell TFE731-40BR turbofans, with a top speed of an impressive 535 mph (465 knots) and an average fuel burn of just under 200 gallons per hour.

As an avgeek with an interest in business jets, I’m pleased to show you around these classic aircraft.

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Overview

Whether it’s the shorter Learjet 70 or the stretched Learjet 75, Learjet Aircraft is the name that springs to mind when someone says ‘private jet’. The Learjet is a midsize, twin-jet, low-wing business jet that was produced by Canadian airplane maker Bombardier Aerospace from 2013 until 2022.

The Learjet 70 and 75 are derived from their predecessors, the earlier Learjet 40 and 45, with more advanced avionics, more powerful engines, improved aerodynamics thanks to canted winglets, and better weight distribution leading to enhanced handling characteristics and better short field performance.

Bombardier launched the Lear 70/75 in the early 2010s and following a prolonged development process, they replaced their predecessors in production. The first customers had their aircraft delivered in late November 2013, the same month it received its FAA type certificate.

Production of the Lear 70 was temporarily discontinued in 2016 before Bombardier announced production would finally come to an end in 2022. However, with a total of 145 units manufactured, these sleek airplanes with their signature nose cones, long and pointed, will surely grace the skies for years to come.

The Learjet 70 and 75 are so alike that they are often grouped together as the Lear 70/75, almost as though they are one aircraft. As you can see from the specifications below, they are very similar indeed.

The key difference is the additional two feet of fuselage length that the 75 has over the 70, accommodating an extra passenger, but slightly reducing the maximum range and maximum payload, with a minimal increase in fuel burn.

The Lear 70 and 75 are certified under FAA Part 25 regulations, which means the Learjet has to follow the same rules as larger jet airliners. This is a much higher standard than the Part 23 regulations that most of the Learjet’s competitors follow.

Accordingly, the Lear 70/75 has to meet a very high standard for resistance to bird strikes, flight control redundancy in case of failure, and ice testing.

Specifications

The Lear 70/75 is a medium sized private jet, able to seat seven (Lear 70) or eight (Lear 75)  in standard configuration and two flight crew.

Specification Learjet 70 Learjet 75
Engines 2x Honeywell TFE731-40BR 2x Honeywell TFE731-40BR
Engine Thrust 3,850 lbf 3,850 lbf
Climb rate 4,000 feet per min 4,000 feet per min
Max operating altitude 51,000 feet 51,000 feet
Cabin altitude at ceiling 8,000 feet 8,000 feet
Max cruise speed Mach 0.81 Mach 0.81
Stall speed 120 knots 120 knots
Maximum range 2060 nm (2371 miles) 2040 nm (2348 miles)
Fuel capacity (Jet A-1) 6,062 lb 6,062 lb
Fuel burn 198 gal/h 199 gal/h
Payload 2285 lb max 2110 lb max
Max takeoff weight 21,500 lb 21,500 lb
Landing distance 2,660 ft 2,660 ft
Length 56.0 ft 58.0 ft
Wingspan 50 ft 11 in 50 ft 11 in
Height 14.0 ft 14.0 ft
Crew 2 2
Passengers 7 8

How Much Does a Lear 70/75 Cost?

Although the Lear 70/75 can no longer be purchased new, since the final Learjet rolled off the assembly line in 2022, it had a new purchase price of $9.9 million.

The only way to acquire a Lear 70/75 is on the secondary market. At present, a pre-owned Lear 70/75 will cost between approximately $5.50 million and $9.25 million. The Lear 70/75 is not a cheap aircraft, as it is sought after and holds its value well.

Investment in a private jet - particularly such a quintessential airplane as the Lear 70/75 - is among the highest expenses you are ever likely to incur, so it’s worth some research. Funding the purchase is just the beginning, and may well also involve financing costs.

Once the deal is signed and you have your Lear 70/75, you will need to budget for the ongoing annual expense, which includes fixed costs and variable costs. On top of any interest payments, fixed costs include airplane storage, insurance, crew annual salaries and annual inspection fees.

Variable costs include operating costs like hourly crew salaries, maintenance, repairs, cleaning and landing fees. The amount depends on the number of hours flown. According to aircraftcostcalculator.com, the total annual budget for a Learjet 75 flying 450 hours per year is $1,639,408.

For the Learjet 70, the total annual cost of operation is slightly reduced, to $1,625,758. Either way, purchasing, operating and maintaining one of these paradigmatic business jets is a very significant expense indeed.

If there will be days when you are not using your Learjet 70 or 75 yourself, you might consider hiring a jet management company to hire out the aircraft, and manage its maintenance schedule.

The Lear 70/75 has a fixed inspection every 600 hours. The time taken for each inspection is short compared with many other aircraft, as the Learjet was designed with straightforward maintenance in mind. However, it is important that the inspections are carried out on schedule.

The most major inspection for a Lear 70/75 takes place when it reaches 12 years of service. All of the main components and systems receive a thorough check and are restored to the level of functionality they had when the aircraft was new.

Every part of the airframe is inspected in the 12-year check, including the landing gear, fuel system, flight controls, hydraulics and electronics.

Using a management company releases you from the drudgery of having to manage routine servicing and keep your aircraft’s airworthiness up to date yourself. The management company will also source and pay suitable crew, and arrange the best insurance deal for you, to avoid overpayment on your part.

Although there is a cost associated with hiring a jet management company, the revenue brought in by renting your airplane to third parties should more than cover it. Rather like a house letting realtor, the jet management company will seek clients and handle their payments for you.

Performance

Is the Lear 70/75 the right airplane for your transportation needs, getting you to your appointments in a timely manner? Compared with similar aircraft, the Lear 70 and 75 weigh more, and use more fuel. However, the Lear 70/75 can fly faster and carry more than many competitors can.

Let’s take a look at the power plants and the performance statistics.

What Engines Does The Lear 70/75 have?

Both variants, the Lear 70 and the 75, have exactly the same power plants - a pair of aft-fuselage-mounted Honeywell TFE731-40BR turbofans, each developing 3,850 lbf of thrust. This gives a superb climb rate of 4,000 feet per minute, making the Lear 70/75 a very sporty airplane to fly.

The Honeywell TFE731 was certified in 1972, with over 13,000 units being produced since then. It is a tried-and-tested powerplant with a track record of reliability. Numerous modifications have been made over the past fifty years, improving efficiency and performance.

The latest variant has Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC) to manage fuel burn and ensure optimum efficiency, maximizing time between overhauls. The operational ceiling of the TFE731-40BR is 51,000 feet, which gives the Lear 70/75 its high maximum cruise altitude.

The engines fitted to the Lear 70/75 are derated from their maximum performance parameters, which extends their life and reduces maintenance costs. Each power plant requires a Major Periodic Inspection (MPI) every 3,000 hours, and a Core Zone Inspection (CZI) every 6,000 hours.

By keeping up to date with all of the manufacturer’s service bulletins, the MPI interval can be extended by 500 hours, and the CZI interval by 1,000 hours, further improving maintenance efficiency and reducing the time the airplane is out of service.

With one engine out, the Lear 70/75 can still climb away safely after take-off. It can reach an altitude of 28,000 feet on a single engine.

How Fast Is The Learjet 70 and 75?

As well as its faster climb times, the Learjet 70 and 75 has a very nippy maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.81. A typical high-speed cruise in the Lear 70/75 is Mach 0.79.

To get the best range, however, pilots will usually let the gauge settle back to a more economical cruise of Mach 0.76. That said, it is good to know that higher speeds are available and the Lear 70/75 can get you to your destination quickly when every minute counts.

How High Does The Learjet 70 and 75 Fly?

Although the service ceiling of the aircraft is a very impressive FL510 (51,000 feet), the airplane’s more usual cruise level is FL450 (45,000 feet) where it performs best, according to the manufacturer.

Since the supersonic Concorde retired in 2003, there are no civil airplanes that fly higher than the Learjet’s ceiling, so you will be looking down on all other civil air traffic while your Lear 70/75 is up there at flight level 510.

How Far Can The Learjet 70 and 75 Fly?

The maximum range of both variants is over 2,300 miles, with the shorter-fuselage Learjet 70 managing to go some 23 miles further than her big sister. To achieve maximum range, the airplane must be brimmed with fuel and carry minimal payload.

A more typical range would be 1,873 nm (2,155 miles) for the Learjet 70 and 1,805 nm (2,077 miles) for the Learjet 75. You can count on the Lear 70/75 to fly you from New York City into Arizona, Idaho or Utah in a single leg.

What Fuel Does The Lear 70/75 Use?

The Lear 70/75’s engines run on Jet A-1, which costs approximately $7 per gallon in the USA. Jet A-1 is a kerosene-based fuel used by many jet aircraft. Jet A-1 has a lower freezing point than Jet A, which is important for airplanes that cruise high, in cold air.

Should the fuels begin to solidify in flight because of low temperature, it can cause serious issues in the final approach phase of flight when the engines need to provide power to overcome drag caused by extended wing flaps and lowered landing gear.

Jet A-1 freezes at -53°F, as opposed to Jet A which freezes at -40°F. Like almost all airplanes, the Lear 70/75 has wing fuel tanks. It also features a fuselage tank, which drains into the wing tanks to maintain balance. The power plants draw fuel from the wing tanks.

The Lear 70/75 can be fueled directly into the wing tanks by pressure fueling, or by gravity fueling into the fuselage tank. There is a control panel beneath the right engine pylon.

Although piping fuel - from the fuselage tank to the wings, then back through the fuselage to the engines - might be considered a safety concern, because of the possibility of a post-accident fire, the Learjet has proven itself to be a remarkably safe aircraft.

In one incident, in 2022 at Morristown Municipal Airport in New Jersey, the entire wingbox of a Learjet separated from the fuselage after a violent runway excursion on landing, and no fire broke out in that situation. The pilot and two passengers all walked unharmed from the wreckage.

The aircraft is fitted with an auxiliary power unit (APU), a Honeywell RE-100LJ. The APU is a small jet engine located behind the aft lavatory used to provide power and bleed air while on the ground. The Learjet’s APU cannot be used in flight.

Experience

Walking around the aircraft, you will notice the recognisable Learjet nose cone, inherited from previous models. Also apparent are the winglets, which increase efficiency by preventing energy-wasting drag as air flows along the wingspan.

Entry to the cabin is via a space-saving clamshell door. Automatic interior lights activate when the door is opened. The lights are controlled by a timer. If the lights go out, they can be turned back on by pushing a button.

When closed, the clamshell door provides a crew rest seat in the galley area, for use in flight, provided this optional extra was specified when the airplane was originally ordered.

When you step into the cabin, the word uppermost in your mind will be ‘luxury’. The name ‘Learjet’ has always been synonymous with passenger comfort, and the Lear 70/75 will not disappoint.

Both variants have an interior cabin height of 4 feet 11 inches, with a cabin width of 5 feet 1 inch, giving a pleasantly roomy feel. At 19 feet 9 inches, the Learjet 75’s cabin is just over two feet longer than the Learjet 70’s, which measures 17 feet 8 inches in length.

One point the Lear 70 scores over the 75 is internal baggage space. Of the Learjet 70’s 363 cubic feet of space, 65 cubic feet are available for bags. The Learjet 75 offers a mere 15 cubic feet of space for baggage, from an overall cabin volume of 410 cubic feet.

However, the Learjet 75 does have an external baggage compartment, measuring 50 cubic feet. This space is accessed via an external door. The external baggage space is heated but it is not pressurized, so it is advisable not to load anything that could swell and burst open at altitude.

As standard, the Learjet 75’s cabin is zoned into two areas with club-configured seats, although a single, longer space may have been specified by the original customer. Tables can be fitted in the space between facing seats, except in front of the emergency exit.

For the seats adjacent to the emergency exit, a detachable table is provided, which can be stowed behind the rear seats when it is not in use. Each passenger seat has a small drawer at the bottom.

Usually, the seats are situated near the cabin walls, with the aisle in the center. The aircraft has the best headroom for seated passengers in its class, as well as the longest cabin.

The Lear 70/75 offers more leg room and easier movement around the cabin than any other midsize private jet. Each passenger seat has a USB outlet and a 7-inch, pop-up  monitor connected to the aircraft’s entertainment system. Passengers can access separate movies and music.

The forward bulkhead carries a large HD monitor. Interior lighting is controlled from the seats by touch screen; each seat area has its own lighting, including a table light. One seat can be designated the VIP seat - the passenger in the VIP seat controls the bulkhead HD screen.

Interestingly, the cabin management system utilized on the Lear 70/75 was developed by Lufthansa Technik to be equipped on smaller aircraft but were slightly modified for the Lear 70/75 following a deal between them and Bombardier Learjet when the two models entered production.

The Learjet 70 and 75 boasts a very quiet passenger cabin, thanks to excellent sound insulation and a pocket door separating the cockpit from the cabin. The window blinds are manually controllable, and can be adjusted to fully dark, partly dark or fully open.

The pocket door reduces ambient noise in the passenger cabin by 8 decibels. This makes it possible for passengers to hold a conversation even if they are seated in different parts of the cabin. The seats can be reclined to form berths if required.

Cruising at FL450 (45,000 feet), the air conditioning and pressurization system maintains the cabin altitude at a super-comfortable 6,000 feet, and the Lear 70/75 can accomplish this with one engine throttled back to idle if necessary.

Both variants offer a forward galley area and a lavatory compartment, at the rear of the aircraft. The lavatory compartment has its own window and a seat with a belt. The lavatory area can be repurposed as a baggage area; a cargo net is provided for this.

The galley also offers a good deal of storage space. A hot-water dispenser is fitted as standard. A microwave oven was an optional extra, so this may be present if the original customer specified it.

In the cockpit, pilots will find a good forward view through the 2-ply windshield, which is electrically heated. The flight instruments comprise Garmin G5000 avionics with touchscreen control, giving pilots easy access to the primary flight display (PFD) and navigational display.

The large display panels give the flight deck environment a modern, uncluttered look. Each pilot’s PFD shows a graphically-rendered artificial horizon across the full width of the panel, thanks to Garmin’s synthetic vision system.

In the center of the main panel, another large display shows power plant parameters and navigational data, the format of which can be selected by the flight crew. Available choices include a moving map display, system synoptics, or navigational charts.

The cockpit is fitted with dual flight management systems and, of course, a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). The Lear 70/75’s flight controls are conventional in layout, with twin control columns, each with a w-configuration control wheel.

Powerful carbon brakes are fitted to the main landing gear. These can slow the aircraft very efficiently as they do not suffer the same degree of ‘brake fade’ that older, steel brakes experience when they become hot.

The nosewheel can pivot through 360 degrees when it is in towing configuration. For taxi, the nosewheel is controlled electronically by the rudder pedals, and can deflect 60 degrees in either direction. On take-off roll, when the speed reaches 70 knots, the maximum nose wheel deflection is limited to 7 degrees.

Any Disadvantages?

Pilots have reported that Learjets tend to approach a stall condition quite quickly with little warning, rolling suddenly as they do so. The stall speed of both the Learjet 70 and 75 is 120 knots, which is quite high for an aircraft of its size.

Rather like a thoroughbred sports car, both aircraft require careful piloting, to make the best use of its performance, while remaining mindful of its handling characteristics. Aileron fences are fitted to the Lear 70/75 to help with roll control at low speed, even in a stall.

The fact it is missing a lavatory sink (if not included as an optional add-on) is also a large disadvantage and means you may end up spending tens of thousands of dollars with an aftermarket aircraft interior design firm installing one.

That being said, this is made up for by the factory-standard shower in the aft-lavatory (at least in my eyes!)

About THE AUTHOR

Joe Haygood

Joe Haygood

After spending years watching every video I could find about flying, I finally scratched the itch and got my pilots license. Now I fly every chance I get, and share the information I learn, here.

Read More About Joe Haygood