Lear Executive Jet Air Pilot Wing
Wichita, KS 1964-1969
The Learjet started life as an abortive 1950s Swiss ground-attack fighter aircraft, the FFA P-16. Bill Lear formed the Swiss American Aircraft Corporation, located in Altenrhein, Switzerland. The aircraft was originally intended to be called the SAAC-23. Although building the first jet started in Switzerland, the tooling for building the aircraft was moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1962. In 1964 the company was renamed the Lear Jet Corporation. The original Lear 23 first flew on October 7, 1963. On September 19 of the same year, the company was renamed Lear Jet Industries Inc. On April 10, 1967, Bill Lear's stock was acquired by the Gates Rubber Company. In 1969, the company was merged with Gates Aviation and the company name was changed to Gates Learjet Corporation. Note: The manufacturer of the wing says this is the correct name of the wing but the name does not match up with the lettering on the wing.