Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link World History Group RSS feed World History Group Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Learjet's Golden Anniversary

By Martin A. Bartels 
Originally published by Aviation History magazine. Published Online: January 03, 2014 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -

Rat Pack stalwarts Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra lent Lear's private jet an invaluable aura of cool during the mid-1960s. [John Bryson/Sygma/Corbis]
Rat Pack stalwarts Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra lent Lear's private jet an invaluable aura of cool during the mid-1960s. [John Bryson/Sygma/Corbis]

It wasn't until the age of 50 that Frank Sinatra owned his first Learjet, but for the next two years it would become perhaps the most notorious mode of transportation for Rat Pack members and their friends. It was the ultimate in cool, and for designer Bill Lear, exactly the kind of marketing he wanted for his pet project.

Now celebrating its own 50 years, the Learjet was not the first private jet on the market, but it was by far the fastest. Given its list of high-profile clients—not to mention one-time VP of public relations Danny Kaye (the actor, comedian and pilot)—it quickly became an icon. It dominated the private jet market from its inception in the early 1960s through Bill Lear's sale of the business to Gates Rubber Company in 1967, until around 1977. After some rocky years, Bombardier Inc. took over in 1990, and continues to roll out aggressive new models, with the latest and largest of the bunch, the Model 85, set for release this year.

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to Aviation History magazine

By the time Bill Lear was conducting flight tests of the famed bizjet, at the age of 61, he was already successful. He is credited with more than 200 patents, and his inventions included the car radio, the 8-track tape, an aircraft autopilot and automatic landing system, among others.


Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Related Articles

History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet? is brought to you by World History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
World History Group

World History Group Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer!
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2015 World History Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy