§ Lord Bruce-Gardyne
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will make a further statement on the progress of the Lear Fan enterprise, and on their current intentions towards it.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Lyell)
As is common to most aircraft development and certification programmes involving new technology, setbacks have been experienced with the project from time to time. The correction of these defects has resulted in a significant degree of slippage in the certification programme, but an important milestone was passed in October 1984 when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted a type inspection authorisation to a Lear Fan 2100 aircraft. However, before flight testing by FAA personnel can commence, a number of key tests have still to be completed. It is understood from the company that one of these tests has revealed the need for modification to the propulsion unit, and that it will take some 10 weeks for this to be completed and the test re-run. In spite of this delay, the company's current forecast is that basic type certification for an unpressurised aircraft should be achieved later this year, with full type certification in 1986.
The Government's current intentions remain as in the reply given to my noble friend on 19th December 1984. [House of Lords Hansard, Vol. 458, cols. 646–648].
Her Majesty's Government have made it clear that they will not provide further funds beyond those committed by the legally binding 1982 Financial Assistance Agreement. The project will continue to be closely monitored by the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland.