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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Lear Fan Limited


Historical Note

Initially established in 1977 as a subsidiary of LearAvia Corporation, Lear Fan Limited (LFL) developed and produced the Lear Fan 2100, an all-composite, twin engine “pusher” business jet.

In 1976-1977, the Lear Fan aircraft design and development was begun within LearAvia Corporation. Circa 1980, Lear Fan Limited was established as a subsidiary of LearAvia Corporation, with funding from the British government, to build and sell the Lear Fan 2100, an all-composite aircraft designed by WPL and his team. After William P. Lear’s death on May 14, 1978, Moya Olsen Lear took over as Chairman of the Board of LearAvia and helped guide the Lear Fan program in its efforts to attain FAA certification and commercial production.

Briefly called both the “Futura” and “Finesse” prior to the Lear “Fan” 2100, the initial prototype (E-001/N626BL) completed its first flight on December 32, 1980 (January 1, 1981), a date created by the British Government to secure funding good only until the end of 1980.

Development and certification proved expensive and money was always in short supply. Lear Fan Limited restructured again in 1982 as Fan Holdings, Inc., this time with funds from the British government and an investor group, Zoysia Corporation. However, due to continued problems attaining FAA certification and financial strife, Lear Fan Limited filed for Chapter 7 liquidation and closed its operations in early June 1985. Only three prototype aircraft were ever built and flown. The first prototype was numbered N626BL, using WPL’s birthdate of June 26th and initials for “Bill Lear.” The second prototype was numbered N327ML using Moya’s birthdate and initials. It was later changed to N21LF. The third prototype was designated N98LF.

The company restructured as Lear Fan Technology Inc. for possible buyout after the shutdown of the Lear Fan program. The end result is unclear but it appears as many assets as possible were sold and proceeds were divided amongst the nearly 500 creditors listed on the Chapter 7 filing.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Robert Bryant Collection

 Collection — Box: One
Identifier: 2019-06-17
Content Description The Robert Bryant Collection is a small collection consisting of textual and visual materials related to Bryant's career working for Boeing, Northrop, Lear Fan and other aviation companies. The materials are organized by company and format. Related to Boeing, the collection includes a request for proposal on systems and equipment for the Supersonic Transport Program, a 700-series decal, and a handbook on advanced composites. Materials related to Lear Fan include administrative...

Series XII. LearAvia Corporation, 1838-1992, 1999, undated

Scope and Contents: LearAvia Corporation This series, the largest in the collection, documents the activities of LearAvia Corporation which was established in April 1968 by William P. Lear in Reno, Nevada at the site of former Stead Air Force Base. The company was engaged in the development, manufacture, and distribution of avionic products as well the design and development of three aircraft: the LearStar 600, the Lear Allegro, and the Lear Fan 2100. The series is divided into eight subseries, administrative...

Series XIV. Lear Fan Limited, 1942-1947, 1975-1999, undated

Scope and Contents: Lear Fan Limited Series XIV: Lear Fan Limited (LFL) provides a look into the development, production, flight testing, and quest for FAA certification of the Lear Fan 2100, an innovative all-composite airplane that William P. Lear and his team designed in 1976-1977. The series is arranged into eight subseries: administrative records, correspondence, financial records, legal records, photographs, publicity materials, research materials, and ...

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