The Lear Fan 2100, a radical two-engine pusher prop-jet made almost entirely from composites, was Bill Lear's final project. When Lear died before his marvel of aviation technology became a reality, his widow, Moya, and Lear's employees honored his final wish to finish and fly the airplane. Only three Lear Fans were made, but the knowledge gained in composite technology has revolutionized the field of aviation.
The Museum's model, the prototype, made its maiden flight in January of 1981. As a testament to the efforts to complete the aircraft by its 1980 deadline, the British government, which helped fund the project, declared the Lear Fan's first flight date "December 32, 1980." Envelopes carried aboard on the flight were cancelled with this same date, and the U.S. Post Office honored the cancellation.
The Lear Fan is unique because its made almost entirely of graphite/epoxy and Kevlar composite materials. These composites make the Lear Fan strong at about half the weight of an aluminum airframe. The lighter Lear Fan is faster and more economical than conventionally made business jets and turboprops.