Learjet Family Rivalry

These two cousins are titans of the bizav world, and, both are hugely popular to own or charter.

The Lear 60 is the largest production Learjet ever made. A larger model 85 made it to prototype, but that line was squashed in the Great Recession. The newer 60XR version is the exact same plane as the classic 60, with upgraded avionics, reconfigured interior and a beefier braking system (which many classic 60s have been upgraded to include).

There have been over 600 Lear 45s made (versus just under 400 of the 60) and a 45XR version provides an engine modification that gives higher takeoff weights, faster cruise and better rate of climb. Today, the Lear 75 is basically the same as the 45 with modernized engines and enhanced winglets (and therefore better performance and efficiency) and different avionics. A model 40 and 70 were made, each of which were simply smaller versions of the 45 and 75, respectively.

Both climb fast to altitude (better to get away fast from the heat, the bumps and other planes) and are respectably fast. The Lear 45 has 8 seats standard and the Lear 60 has 7, though each can accommodate one more passenger on the cushioned and belted potty. I've personally flown the 60 with 8 businessmen –they put the smallest on the on the potty (the flight was less about an hour so no one needed to, shall I say, unseat him). I helped a friend charter a flight to a concert for 9 folks on the 45 with (the smallest) one passenger in the lav (again, less than an hour flight, and, lots of beer to sooth any ill feelings). Oddly, the smaller-interior 45 has a bit more baggage room. Simply put, the 60 is much roomier – with a 5’7” cabin height v. 4’11” on the 45. The 45 seats are slender, the 60’s are more comfortable. The 60 has longer legs and can run about 2,300+/- statute miles, or, about 400 miles further than its smaller cousin. With a little digging, you can sometimes find a 60 for nearly the same charter cost of a 45.

Here is an amazing video of a Lear 60XR being built that appeared onNatGeo’s Megafactories

WATCH THE VIDEO

—Editor