This aircraft is a LearJet model 23. It was built in 1964, and is only the ninth Lear to roll off the assembly line. This plane was modified by Bobby Younkin and was used in numerous air shows across North America. One of the most respected aerobatics pilots in the world, Younkin died in a tragic mid-air collision July 10, 2005 while performing his “Masters of Disaster” act in Canada.
In 1959, Bill Lear designed a new twin-engine jet aircraft that would forever change the business jet industry. Lear, a successful manufacturer of aircraft instruments, began to assemble his revolutionary new business jet in Switzerland, but after encountering difficulties with obtaining needed supplies, moved the operation to Wichita, Kansas. The first prototype Lear flew on October 7, 1963. More than 100 Lear 23s were produced before switching to the Lear 24 model.
The Lear 23 was designed as a sleek, fast, comfortable business aircraft and was never intended for aerobatic use. Younkin saw the advantages of the speed and maneuverability of the plane and decided to incorporate the jet in his act. The plane, when built, could climb to 10,000 feet faster than an F-100 Super Sabre fighter jet. The jet was designed as a seven-passenger jet, including two pilots.
Length / 43 ft. 3 in.
Wing Span / 35 ft. 7 in.
Weight (empty) / 6,150 lbs.
Maximum Speed / 561 mph
Cruise Speed / 485 mph
Ceiling / 40,000 ft.