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How Many Lear 23-25s Are Still Flying In The US?  
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 8762 times:

I realize that this forum gets a little airline centric, but without going into too much detail, one of the test pilots for Lear that helped develop the 23-25 series taught my parents to fly in Wichita. Since then, during the late 80's to mid-90's 2X-series Lears flew through the airport I used to work at before gas prices skyrocketed. A search on controller.com shows only 1 Lear 23 for sale and 4 24s for sale in the entire US.

Given how much gas they eat and the price of Jet A, how many are still around? Keep in mind the last Jet A price I remember pumping was something around $3.00/gallon. I guess the same question could be asked about Jetstars.


The beatings will continue until morale improves
29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineB6JFKH81 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2881 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8751 times:

Based on the FAA registry (if I am reading it correctly):

Lear 23 = 35

http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinqu...x?Mmstxt=5170102&conVal=0&PageNo=1

Lear 24 (all variants) = 139

http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinqu...x?Mfrtxt=LEAR&Modeltxt=24&PageNo=1

Lear 25 (all variants) = 190

http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinqu...x?Mfrtxt=LEAR&Modeltxt=25&PageNo=1

Wow, that seems like a lot. I wonder how many are active on a regular basis!



"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8710 times:

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 1):
Wow, that seems like a lot. I wonder how many are active on a regular basis!

That was going to be my next question. I'd bet that the 23 operated by NASA is active. I'd also bet that the one registered to the Kansas Aviation Museum is not. If you've ever tried to fuel a 2X series Lear it's all gas outside the fuselage. It wasn't uncommon for rookie line service people to tip one over by not splitting the fuel from tip tank to tip tank.

Since probably not everyone here is familiar with the type here's the 23:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © David Schulman



And, there's no interior shots of the 23 in the database so here's a 24:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Julian Whitelaw




The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinebennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7525 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8690 times:

That looks cosy  

If you had not been introduced when you got on, you were engaged by the time you got off.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6370 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8687 times:

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 3):
That looks cosy

What do you expect from an airplane that was designed to fly a set of fighter wings?  You should sit down in a Lear 20 series cockpit sometime...makes a Volkswagen Beetle seem spacious!



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineB6JFKH81 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2881 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8674 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 2):
It wasn't uncommon for rookie line service people to tip one over by not splitting the fuel from tip tank to tip tank.

I've always wondered, what was the capacity of those tanks?



"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8632 times:

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 5):
I've always wondered, what was the capacity of those tanks?

If I remember right, the pilot (or more commonly the FO) of a Lear 23 would transfer fuel while you were filling the plane so you could fill the fuselage tank first. The fuel capacity of the Lear 23 is around 5500 lbs. In a 24 it's recommended you put 125 gallons in one side, then 250 in the other and go back and forth until full. The FBO I worked at wouldn't let you put 125 gallons on one side first, I remember it closer to 75 then 150 on the other side. You noticeably saw the wing drop as you filled the tip tank. By feet. It holds a lot of fuel.

I don't remember the total fuel capacity of the tip tanks but it was a lot when you compared it to a Citation 1 or 2. But then you didn't get the speed benefit that the Lear has.

[Edited 2011-10-12 16:18:43]


The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineB6JFKH81 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2881 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 8613 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6):

Thanks for the info. I recently saw a Gulfstream (III or IV) with tip tanks and the damn things looked HUGE, and that got me thinking about the capacity of all the various aircraft I have seen the darn things on LOL. Aaaaah, how the mind works when you're bored in a car!



"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 8579 times:

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 7):
Thanks for the info. I recently saw a Gulfstream (III or IV) with tip tanks and the damn things looked HUGE, and that got me thinking about the capacity of all the various aircraft I have seen the darn things on LOL. Aaaaah, how the mind works when you're bored in a car!

The Lear 2X series was much different. If you didn't go back and forth to equalize the weight it would tip over. Much more noticeably than any other aircraft I ever fueled. The G-III/!V were single point refuel capable if I remember right so as a line service guy you never had to worry about fuel imbalance.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4437 posts, RR: 19
Reply 9, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 8570 times:

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 3):
That looks cosy

If you had not been introduced when you got on, you were engaged by the time you got off.

As Bill Lear liked to say :



'you can't stand up in a Cadillac either'



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1586 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 8524 times:

I've got about 1500 hours in Lears, mostly in 20 series. It was a loud, fun airplane to fly but I didn't really enjoy it most of the time. It was nice climbing, and descending, with the VSI pegged out either way 

I think it was a poorly designed airplane, largely due to the fact that Bill Lear would walk through the production line and make changes as they were building the airplanes. I wasn't really impressed with the systems, not very much redundancy. It seemed they mostly wanted an airplane that could climb well and that looked like a failed Swiss fighter plane Bill's son liked.

My company no longer operates 24's but we do however have about 4 or 5 25's still active and flying just about every day. The 35/36 does a good job and is much better on fuel and has taken over, 10 years ago it was all 23,24 &25's for the most part for us. Ameristar still operates a sizable fleet of 24's and 25's.

The CJ610 is a thirsty and powerful little engine. The core is based on a "disposable" cruise missile engine design from the 50's and it morphed into the military version of the engine, the J-85.

[Edited 2011-10-12 17:26:46]

[Edited 2011-10-12 17:29:32]


Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineFly4Film From United States of America, joined Oct 2011, 24 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8364 times:

I am not sure how many 20 series Learjets are still flying, but ironically I did fly one today. A Lear 25B to be exact. She is a great airplane for the mission we utilize it for. Infact, I just recently went through a factory recurrent school at FlightSafety on the 20 series. Aside from having to dust off the old sim and being the only person in class FlightSafety runs a great Lear 20 program. There are at least 4 or 5 flyable 20 series based at Van Nuys, California, my home airport. And yes, rising fuel prices have taken a toll on the old smoke makers, sending countless frames to boneyards and scrappers. But there are still a few trucking on and I'm proud to say I have the privaledge to fly one.

User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 1522 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8345 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6):
If I remember right, the pilot (or more commonly the FO) of a Lear 23 would transfer fuel while you were filling the plane so you could fill the fuselage tank first.

Hell yes. Froze my ass more than once doing that and waiting for the hair dryer in the back to warm the cabin 1/10th of a degree. You had to pump fuel into the trunk tank while the line guys were fueling the wings.

Quoting tb727 (Reply 10):
I think it was a poorly designed airplane, largely due to the fact that Bill Lear would walk through the production line and make changes as they were building the airplanes. I wasn't really impressed with the systems, not very much redundancy. It seemed they mostly wanted an airplane that could climb well and that looked like a failed Swiss fighter plane Bill's son liked.

Amen to that. The only thing not shitty is the performance.

Quoting tb727 (Reply 10):
The CJ610 is a thirsty and powerful little engine. The core is based on a "disposable" cruise missile engine design from the 50's and it morphed into the military version of the engine, the J-85.

Yep. They love to stall. Get below .70 in the 30's and you'll likely have a flame out. Right after I flew the Lears, I flew a JT12 powered Sabreliner. Night and day difference between the aircraft and engines with a little less climb.


User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15729 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 8263 times:

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 1):
Wow, that seems like a lot. I wonder how many are active on a regular basis!

Probably more than you think. It's funny how VLJs were touted as some great new thing when really they are slower and more efficient LearJets.

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 3):
That looks cosy

It is. The best seat is probably the pilot's seat.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineN49WA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 8246 times:

Quoting Fly4Film (Reply 11):
She is a great airplane for the mission we utilize it for.

This is the airplane my company owns for air to air filming, hence my user name. My understanding (and correct me if I'm wrong KL) is that the turbojet engines provide much better performance than fanjets for the quick maneuvering needed to move around something like a 777 for filming from all angles.
In passenger configuration it's tight, with the seats removed and all the camera gear installed you find a spot to wedge yourself into and you don't move for the duration of the flight.
All in all, a fantastic airplane.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Royal S King



User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 1522 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 8096 times:

That's cheating. It has hush kits.

I'm not sure about the straight pipes performing better than fans. I think the little GE's might spool up a little quicker than fans, but that's about it.


User currently offlinetjwgrr From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 2433 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 8073 times:

Quoting tb727 (Reply 10):
My company no longer operates 24's but we do however have about 4 or 5 25's still active and flying just about every day. The 35/36 does a good job and is much better on fuel and has taken over, 10 years ago it was all 23,24 &25's for the most part for us.

Kalitta Charters (KFS) I assume?  
Quoting tb727 (Reply 10):
Ameristar still operates a sizable fleet of 24's and 25's.

Looks like Royal Air Freight (RAX) is operating both the 24 and 25 as well:

http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinqu...AIR+FREIGHT&sort_option=1&PageNo=1



Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
User currently offlinebjorn14 From Norway, joined Feb 2010, 3411 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 7989 times:

Aaah Memories....the 23 was the first plane my Dad flew when he got out of USAF. It was a VLJ before we knew the term. Then the company upgraded to a 35 now that was a sweet ride for a 10 year old.  


"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
User currently offlineaerodog From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7962 times:

[quote=DashTrash,reply=12. You had to pump fuel into the trunk tank while the line guys were fueling the wings. [/quote]

It was lot easier if you started the fuel transfer while you are taxiing in. Been there...done that many times. First ride, co-pilot on the initial delivery flight, 23-012, ICT-SMO about 47 years ago.


User currently offlineNASCARAirforce From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3178 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7947 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Thread starter):
Given how much gas they eat and the price of Jet A, how many are still around? Keep in mind the last Jet A price I remember pumping was something around $3.00/gallon. I guess the same question could be asked about Jetstars.

Not only that but also the noise factor. Stage 3 didn't really apply to Lears because they are under the 75,000 lb weight class obviously, although they can't fly into Naples Florida or John Wayne Airport. They sound like F-15s when they take off though.

Its been a long time since I seen a Lear 23 or 24, still occassionally see 25s as I think Kalitta Charters still has a few. I remember watching planes take off after a NASCAR race at Daytona Beach in 2004 and there were a ton of classic Lears that year. The race started and ended late due to storms. These classic Lears were taking off on 7L at 2am, not sure if they don't have as good of a climb as the newer Lears or they just felt like taking off low that day but they were buzzing the houses just east of DAB that day.

Its been ages since I seen a flying Jetstar - probably the last I seen flying was also at a Daytona race - an all brown/gold one if I recall. I know there are a bunch of them sitting at Opa Locka, just not sure if they still fly.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6875 posts, RR: 46
Reply 20, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7945 times:

When I ran the local airport (1998-2000) I saw one that I remember (I don't know which model it was.) At that time we still had two machine tool companies in town (since gone bankrupt) and someone (I believe it was an auto manufacturer) had a machine down and needed a part NOW. The part they needed fit into a box about 6" x 6" x 8"; and the Lear flew in, picked it up and departed again. It goes to show how expensive down time is; I strongly suspect that they paid a lot more for the chartered Lear than for the part. Fedex next day wasn't even fast enough for them.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1586 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7912 times:

Quoting tjwgrr (Reply 16):
Kalitta Charters (KFS) I assume?

Hmmmmm...not sure 
Quoting tjwgrr (Reply 16):
Looks like Royal Air Freight (RAX) is operating both the 24 and 25 as well:

I don't know how I forgot about them.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 20):

When I ran the local airport (1998-2000) I saw one that I remember (I don't know which model it was.) At that time we still had two machine tool companies in town (since gone bankrupt) and someone (I believe it was an auto manufacturer) had a machine down and needed a part NOW. The part they needed fit into a box about 6" x 6" x 8"; and the Lear flew in, picked it up and departed again. It goes to show how expensive down time is; I strongly suspect that they paid a lot more for the chartered Lear than for the part. Fedex next day wasn't even fast enough for them.

That's all I do, fly parts for automakers. It may not make sense at first but when you realize an assembly line is shut down at anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 a minute for a cheap part, heck yeah you want to get it there like now! I look over the customs paperwork for a lot of the stuff we bring out of Mexico, you would be surprised at how cheap a cylinder head or plane load of valve covers are. I've moved anything and everything, from pedals to windshields to tail lights to axles and fully assembled diesel Semi-truck motors(not in a Lear). Fascinating stuff.

[Edited 2011-10-13 08:16:51]


Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 22, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 7864 times:

Quoting aerodog (Reply 18):
It was lot easier if you started the fuel transfer while you are taxiing in. Been there...done that many times. First ride, co-pilot on the initial delivery flight, 23-012, ICT-SMO about 47 years ago.

Interesting that the photo of the 23 I used above has SN/ 23-003, was 12 delivered first? You probably know who taught my parents to fly in the 60's. I'll ask my mom her CFI's name and pm you.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 19):
Its been ages since I seen a flying Jetstar - probably the last I seen flying was also at a Daytona race - an all brown/gold one if I recall.

Even in the 90's a Jetstar was a very rare occurrence at the regional and municipal airports I worked at. I could be wrong, but I think for a while Wayne Newton owned one that came through.

edit: I was right. Wayne Newton did use to own one. There was a similar thread on Jetstars around 5 years ago if any of you are interested
Lockheed Jetstar - Any Still In Private Service? (by Supa7E7 Feb 26 2006 in Civil Aviation)

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 20):
I strongly suspect that they paid a lot more for the chartered Lear than for the part.
Quoting tb727 (Reply 21):
That's all I do, fly parts for automakers. It may not make sense at first but when you realize an assembly line is shut down at anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 a minute for a cheap part, heck yeah you want to get it there like now! I

tb's company pretty much made me enough in overtime pay at the FBO I worked at to pay for a year of college. I logged days of forklift time unloading Kalitta planes. For a solid year they were delivering auto parts every night in planes from turbine BE-18's to DC-9s. When you need a part or parts, you spend the money. It's cheaper than shutting down the line. Some of my best airport memories are sitting on the ramp on a forklift at 3 AM listening to Art Bell on the radio waiting for a Kalitta plane to show up.

[Edited 2011-10-13 09:07:21]


The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineNASCARAirforce From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3178 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 7707 times:

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 20):
When I ran the local airport (1998-2000) I saw one that I remember (I don't know which model it was.) At that time we still had two machine tool companies in town (since gone bankrupt) and someone (I believe it was an auto manufacturer) had a machine down and needed a part NOW. The part they needed fit into a box about 6" x 6" x 8"; and the Lear flew in, picked it up and departed again. It goes to show how expensive down time is; I strongly suspect that they paid a lot more for the chartered Lear than for the part. Fedex next day wasn't even fast enough for them

Seems like there is less and less of these charter companies for auto parts - maybe because a lot of factories are closing or the factories are starting to warehouse the parts more and more.

When I worked at a major trucking company in the 1990s near DTW, we were the main hub for the company - the freight came thru from other parts of the US, Mexico and Canada and transfered thru us onward to somewhere else. Many times there were special trucks that had a "hot freight" demand where a plant needed the parts sooner than they were getting them trucked to them - instead of that truck going to that part of the country, the truck would go to YIP (instead of DTW, since YIP was the main cargo airport) with the parts on a special cargo plane. That was how Kalitta, Zantop, USA Jet, Reliant, Murray Aviation, Kitty Hawk, and many others made their money. I remember you could sit at YIP at midnight and watch the Lears, 727s, DC-8s, Electras, Convair 580s, maybe even a Kalitta 747, even an occassional DC-6 or DC-3 take off to pick up or deliver something as they all rushed out.

Quoting tb727 (Reply 21):
That's all I do, fly parts for automakers. It may not make sense at first but when you realize an assembly line is shut down at anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 a minute for a cheap part, heck yeah you want to get it there like now! I look over the customs paperwork for a lot of the stuff we bring out of Mexico, you would be surprised at how cheap a cylinder head or plane load of valve covers are. I've moved anything and everything, from pedals to windshields to tail lights to axles and fully assembled diesel Semi-truck motors(not in a Lear). Fascinating stuff.

Sounds like Kalitta to me.


User currently offlineFly4Film From United States of America, joined Oct 2011, 24 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7599 times:

Quoting DashTrash (Reply 15):

That's cheating. It has hush kits.

I'm not sure about the straight pipes performing better than fans. I think the little GE's might spool up a little quicker than fans, but that's about it.


Well technically it has hush kits, but I don't think anyone can tell the difference. On paper the aircraft becomes stage 3 with the hush kit and gives us a little more operational flexability. You are correct about the spool up time. In our line of work we sometimes don't have the time to wait for a turbofan to spool up. In the 25, it almost feels like the throttle levers are directly connected to the airspeed indicator. The CJ 610's spool up and down extremely fast and it makes all the difference in the world when your moving around another aircraft in a tight formation. As far as performance goes, I'm just going to say I'm glad I don't have to buy the gas.


25 Post contains links and images nra-3b : Fly4Film: Slightly off topic but, I think I might have encountered a craft similar to yours once while we were out flying: Learjet Photo Ship by Bob t
26 N49WA : Yes, it's been busy! Great shot by the way.
27 bjorn14 : I wonder if the Phenom 100 or the 300 will replace any of the Lear 20's?
28 Post contains images tb727 : From my experience, anyone that is still operating a 20 Series Learjet is too cheap to buy anything new Maybe in 20 or so years they will operate a P
29 N49WA : Not everyone. In some cases the mission dictates the aircraft. Performance, interior space and ability to make STC mods make the 25 the best choice.
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