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"Learjet" is the common name for any of a series of small jet aircraft manufactured by the Canadian company Bombardier Aerospace.

Learjets are commonly used by corporations to transport executives and VIP's in swift order. Sometimes very rich people purchase them as well, for personal transportation. They can actually fly higher and faster than a lot of commercial airliners, some models having a cruising altitude of over 50,000 feet. Most commercial airliners operate at around 37,000 feet.

Learjets also generally have good noise dampening capabilities, making for a quiet ride. They are also less subject to turbulence in long-haul flights, since they fly above most weather systems.

Learjet, through the years:

Summer 1962
Bill Lear moves his business jet company from Altenrheim, Switzerland to Wichita, Kansas

September 15, 1962
A Prototype Learjet 23 is completed and rolled out of factory for preflight equipment installation and final check-out.

October 7, 1963
The first Learjet, the Model 23, makes its first flight.

July 31, 1964
The Learjet 23 is certified.

October 13, 1964
Delivery of the first Learjet 23 production model (Serial number 003) to Chemical Industrial Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio.

January 1965
A Learjet is used for the first time in a special mission role, acting as an Air Ambulance.

May 1965
Learjet 23 establishes three world speed records, flying from Los Angeles to New York and back in 10 hours, 21 minutes, with two refueling stops.

March 17, 1966
The Learjet 24 becomes the first jet certified to U.S. FAR 25 standards.

April 10, 1967
Bill Lear sells controlling interest in Learjet, Inc. to Gates Rubber Company. The name is changed to Gates Learjet Corporation.

February 1968
Learjet sets a time-to-climb record: 40,000 feet (12,912 metres) in 6 minutes, 19 seconds.

January 1972
The FAA approves Learjet for operation from gravel runways, a business jet first.

August 22, 1973
The Learjet 35 completes its first flight.

July 1974
The FAA certifies the Learjet 35 and 36

April 8, 1975
The 500th Learjet, a 24D, is delivered to the Mexican Navy.

May 19, 1976
Golfing legend Arnold Palmer leads a Learjet 36 crew on an around-the-world, record breaking flight of 57 hours, 26 minutes.

April 15, 1977
The FAA certifies operation of Learjet aircraft to 51,000 feet-- the highest in civil aviation.

April 1978
A Learjet 23 is made a permanent exhibit in the General Aviation gallery of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

January 30, 1979
The FAA certifies the Learjet 28/29 series, the world's first production airplane with winglets.

February 21, 1979
At Kitty Hawk, Astronaut Neil Armstrong climbs to 50,000 feet (15,240 metres) in the Learjet Longhorn 28, setting five world records for business jets.

A $5.2 million expansion is carried out at the Wichita site, and the first production Learjet Longhorn 50 series business jet rolls out.

March 28, 1980
The 1,000th Learjet is delivered to the Eaton Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio.

March 1981
The FAA certifies the Learjet 55, the company's first medium sized jet.

May 1983
The Learjet 55LR sets a world speed record by flying from Los Angeles to Paris in 12 hours, 37 minutes with one refueling stop.

September 1985
Learjet receives a contract to build Intertank for the Space Shuttle's main booster rocket

June 1986
The 1,500th Learjet is delivered.

September 1988
Learjet 31 and 55c, the first business aircraft to incorporate delta fins, receive FAA certification

June 29, 1990
Bombardier acquires Learjet, Inc.

October 1990
Bombardier unveils the Learjet 31A; the aircraft completes its first flight in the same year

June 13, 1991
The Bombardier Learjet 60 completes its first flight.

The Bombardier Learjet 31A receives its FAA certification.

September 1992
Bombardier introduces the Learjet 45, a super-light jet based on a clean-sheet design.

January 1993
The FAA certifies the Bombardier Learjet 60, generally regarded as the quietest business jet in the world.

October 7, 1993
The Bombardier Learjet 45 completes its first flight, 32 years (to the day) after the first Learjet took to the skies.

June 19, 1997
The 100th Bombardier Learjet 60 sets a speed record, flying from Pittsburgh to Paris (3,452 nautical miles, 6,392 km) in 8 hours, 1 minute.

The Bombardier Learjet 45 receives both Transport Canada and FAA certification.

August 20, 1999
The 2,000th Learjet is delivered to Parker Hannifin Aerospace.

July 2000
The Bombardier Learjet 45 receives Reduced Vertical Seperation Minima (RVSM) certification.

October 3, 2000
The 200th Bombardier Learjet 31A is delivered to Falcon Air Services of Phoenix, Arizona.

May 2002
The 200th Bombardier Learjet 45 is delivered, less than four years after the aircraft entered service.

July 22, 2002
Bombardier announces the new Learjet 40 and Learjet 45XR to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the founding of Learjet, Inc.

Source: Bombardier Website

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