The Tale of Two Spellings: ‘Lear Jet’ and ‘Learjet’

An Insight into the Evolution of the Renowned Jet Company’s Branding

Learjet History: Photo of two men with a Learjet in the background.

Charles Cassius Gates (left) & Harry Benjamin Combs (Credit Learjet)


Few aircraft names evoke as much prestige and history as ‘Learjet.’ Synonymous with luxury, speed, and innovation, the Learjet brand has solidified its status in the pantheon of aviation greats. But, have you ever wondered why you sometimes see it spelled as two words, ‘Lear Jet,’ and sometimes as one, ‘Learjet’? You’re not alone. This idiosyncrasy isn’t random – it’s a telling reflection of the company’s dynamic history.

The Birth of ‘Lear Jet’ Corporation

The journey began in the early 1960s with the birth of the ‘Lear Jet Corporation.’ Named after its founder, William P. Lear, the company was initially distinctively spelled as two words (‘Lear Jet’).

Lear was a true aviation visionary. His dream was to bring the speed and efficiency of business jets to the commercial market, leading to the creation of the iconic ‘Lear Jet’ models such as the 23, 24, and 25 series.

Enter ‘Gates Learjet Corporation’

Learjet History: Photo of two men discussing a model of a Learjet 23.

Bill Lear (r.) and Charles “Charlie” Cassius Gates, Jr

In 1967, the company underwent a major transition. The Gates Rubber Company acquired ‘Lear Jet Corporation,’ prompting a rebranding to ‘Gates Learjet Corporation.’ With this change, the two-word ‘Lear Jet’ gradually began morphing into the single-word form, ‘Learjet’.

The Bombardier Era and ‘Learjet’ Consolidation

Fast forward to 1990 – another significant moment in the company’s history unfolded. The aviation giant, Bombardier, acquired the company, solidifying ‘Learjet’ as the definitive spelling. The one-word ‘Learjet’ branding, as we know today, represents a wide range of high-performance business jets

Learjet History: Photo of a Learjet 40 flying over a runway with a Cessna on the ground below.

Learjet 40 (S/N45-2020) derived from Learjet 45 (Credit Renato Salzinger)


The alternating use of ‘Lear Jet’ and ‘Learjet’ is more than a mere stylistic quirk – it signifies different chapters of an evolving legacy. So, next time when you come across these spellings, let them remind you of the captivating journey of an innovative enterprise through the decades of aviation history.

Hamel, Peter G, and Gary D Park. 2022. The Learjet History. Springer.

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