Bombardier: Learjet 85

Eaton's Aerospace Group wins, supports, and wins again

Eaton is pleased to be a key systems provider to Bombardier-Learjet on the all new Learjet 85 (LJ85). The aircraft is an eight passenger and two crew member FAA Part 25 all composite business jet. It is the first “Clean Sheet Design” Learjet aircraft since 1999. Eaton is an integral supplier for this aircraft produced by the company founded by famed aircraft maker Bill Lear.


Beginning in 2007, the PROLaunch proposal team from four different Eaton locations and various functional groups began working together on the LJ85 (formerly M136) proposal. Amy Ninness the proposal leader and team members Pete Stricker, Stefan Frischemeier, Art Hartwig, and Tom Werner worked on the proposal details with inputs from Michael McDonald, divisional sales manager, and Greg Buiter gional account manager. These individuals and an extended team of supporting functional specialists built a working “paper system” that complied with the LJ85 requirements.


The challenge was to correctly position Eaton as an innovator with a customer who had chosen an incumbent competitor on several prior HPGS (Hydraulic Power Generation System) programs.

The value proposition succeeded. Eaton was awarded the LJ85 HPGS development contract in February, 2008. The Life of Program HPGS revenue is projected at greater than $136 million dollars. The business case included three Learjet aircraft variants built during 12 years with a total quantity of 1000 aircraft planned for production. Entry into service is scheduled for late 2013.

Good program execution is evidenced by operating within the “iron triangle” of scope, cost and schedule. Lloyd Ellis, LJ85 program manager for Eaton, challenged his team to deliver to management the most profitable commercial development program in the history of Eaton. Ellis notes that forming and training a diverse team to march in cadence together is challenging and exciting work. Managing through the proverbial forming, storming and norming process is rewarding. It requires the team to focus on mutual goals to the extent that potholes in the road to success are left behind.


Eaton has managed both the customer and its own internal resources to achieve success. Eaton’s customer centric program is a multifaceted concept that means Eaton, as the expert adviser, should not let the customer make unfavorable decisions without appropriate input. Knowing the customer, being proactive and keeping commitments, definitely creates value. Saying “yes” to all customer requests is rarely the most prudent path. There were two notable occasions on the LJ85 where Eaton held to its well founded positions with positive results for all.


Eaton and the customer both win when all functional departments focus on a common goal. The LJ85 Eaton team has enhanced its growth position at Learjet by providing solutions that allow the customer to meet its program performance goals. Evidence of mutual success is validated by new contract awards to Eaton. Eaton has more than doubled the top line program content. Additionally, on three separate occasions, Learjet management has sought out Eaton executives and expressed their delight.

In October 2009, Bombardier- Learjet management met with Eaton management at the NBAA09 conference in Orlando, Fla. and conveyed that Eaton has the only “all green” supplier rating on the LJ85 program. In February 2010, Learjet publically recognized Eaton’s “green” rated performance on the LJ85 with three announced awards at a supplier symposium in Wichita, Kan. Most recently, Ralph Acs, vice president, Learjet 85, visited Brad Morton, president, Eaton’s Aerospace Group, and Einar Johnson, vice president of customer solutions and services, Eaton Aerospace Group. Ralph Acs summarized the meeting with a note that said, “…it was a good visit … keep your scorecard green!” For aircraft specifications and a virtual walk through visit