In 1978, I went to Linden Blue, Learjet's general manager with a request to take an old test airplanes and convert it to a Special Mission Demonstrator. Linden said, "If it is worth doing with an old airplane, it is worth doing with a new airplane. Give me a written proposal I can take to the board". I did, he did and the board approved.
There were hard points on the wings, a maritime search radar on the belly. The aircraft went on a tour of the world. It led to the Finnish Air Force contract as well as other sales. The demo aircraft was sold to a U.S. company that used it to fly training missions for the U.S. Navy.
My high watermark was an offer to become vice-president for International Marketing. Thanks but no thanks, by 1980 the company had become so political that it was not worth the grief the job would entail. The job was taken by a Beech Aircraft castoff. It was the beginning of the end for me at Learjet. The castoff outlasted me by a few months.
As this narration attests, the Lear Jet program was a grand adventure. I had the privilege to work with a lot of good people with just enough bad characters sprinkled in so that one could recognize them when they would come along in the future.
Would I do it again? "Without hesitation!"
Regrets? Like Sinatra's song, "I've had a few, but then again, to few to mention."
How would you sum it up? Same song, "We did it Bill's way!"
Thank you Mr. Lear.