The company developed a major cash flow problem. Expenses went up, revenues went down. Bill had to sell!

1964 6
1965 80 10-21-65 N804LJ, 11-14-65 N243F
1966 53 04-23-66 N235R
1967 23

The loss of sales was due to the "accidents" and concern in the market place over the use of surplus components.

Meanwhile, Bill was taking the company in several different directions with most of them having a negative impact on cash flow. Examples:

  • The Model 25 under development
  • The Model 40 under development
  • The acquisition of the Brantly Helicopter program
  • The money losing 8-Track Stereo Division in Detroit
  • The Lear Jet Avionics Division in Grand Rapids
  • Continued high production rates building unsold inventory

Some say Bill did not get accurate financial reports from his accounting department. Whether the information was concealed or he did not want to believe the darkening picture would depend on who you talked to.

What I remember is Hank Beaird walking into my office March 29, 1967, we had to make a fast trip to Denver. It was to be a one engine stop; we would be gone just a couple of hours.

The usually talkative Beaird said little en route to Denver. We landed at Stapleton, taxied up to the base of the tower. Hank remained in the left seat, I opened the cabin door, and welcomed on board Hig Gould, Jack Schaefer and Ned Heppenstall. They were the Charlie Gates brain trust for acquiring the company, we flew them to Wichita for their first visit. That was the beginning of the end of William P. Lear at Lear Jet.

The deal closed 12 days later. The company would have a new owner. Bill Lear no longer had a job.