A group of enthusiasts formed the Classic Lear Jet Foundation to restore Lear 23-003, the third built and first delivered. The group plans to move the jet from where it deteriorated up a ramp at Florida’s Bartow Executive Airport in Wichita for a full restoration. Plans call for Flight S/N 003 to be a “living flight history program,” according to the foundation.
Discussions began a year ago about the possibility of acquiring and reinstating 23-003, and the first foundation meeting was held in July. The foundation was granted nonprofit status in September.
Rick Rowe, a former Learjet demonstration pilot who logged more than 9,000 hours on various models from 35 to 60, is leading public relations efforts for the foundation. “I am in awe of [the restoration of the B-29] Doctor,” he said. “Now we are doing a similar thing. I’m so excited that I can’t believe I’m involved in a project like this.
A team of Board of Trustees members and Wichita Supporter Volunteers will travel to Bartow this weekend to begin tearing down 23-003. A welcome event is scheduled for February 28 in Wichita. Donations can be made on the foundation’s website, and volunteers and sponsors are welcome.