The Learjet 45 XR demonstrator aircraft is the official pace plane for the 47th annual National Championship Air Races, Bombardier Aerospace announced last September 18.
Rick Rowe, Chief Pilot of Bombardier’s Learjet Flight Operations said, “This is a Learjet pilot’s dream come true.” He adds “The Learjet name is synonymous with speed and performance, so setting the pace at an event like Reno really reinforces that image. The Learjet 45 XR provides the perfect combination of speed and stability to support the races in this very critical role.”
The pace plane’s role is to lead a formation of race aircraft to the start line. The pace aircraft must be stable and very maneuverable at both low and high speeds to give each racer an equal entry onto the race course at the start. The pace aircraft must take off and fly slowly (160kts) so that as many as eight race aircraft have time to depart from the airport and join the formation. The aircraft must then accelerate to near race speeds (>300kts) in limited airspace and time to bring the formation to the start line.
The National Championship Air Races, first held in Reno in 1964, will take place from September 15 to 19 in Reno, Nevada. It will bring together thousands of aviation and sports enthusiasts from around the world. Race and Airshow participants include astronauts, airline pilots, military and civilian aviators.
When compared to its closest competitor, the eight-to-nine passenger Learjet 45 XR aircraft flies faster and farther, with more passengers. A model of efficiency, the Learjet 45 XR aircraft burns 11 percent less fuel when flying from Reno to Chicago with a full passenger load and its superior fuel-saving capabilities mean the aircraft can fly non-stop from Reno to Atlanta with eight passengers, a mission that its nearest competitor is not able to achieve. The Learjet 45 XR aircraft passenger cabin area is approximately 15 inches (38 cm) longer and features the only double-club seating configuration in its class, making it the perfect business tool for charter and fractional operators.
Headquartered in Canada, the global corporation Bombardier Inc. is a world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services.