Learjet C-21A

Learjet C-21A 40086 USAFE

The Learjet C-21A is an military variant of the Learjet 35 business jet. The C-21A  is a twin turbofan engine aircraft used for cargo and passenger airlift, and can transport litters during medical evacuations.

Developing nation: United States of America.
Production line: Wichita, Kansas.
Type aircraft:  twin turbofan engine business jet.
First flight: 22 August 1973 civil prototype.
First delivery: April 1984 to USAF.
Produced: April 1984 – October 1985.
Built: 38 Air Force active duty aircraft, and 18 Air National Guard aircraft in the C-21A fleet

The C-21A’s turbofan engines are pod-mounted on the sides of the rear fuselage. The swept-back wings have hydraulically actuated, single-slotted flaps. The aircraft has a retractable tricycle landing gear, single steerable nose gear and multiple-disc hydraulic brakes. The aircraft has a crew of two and may be flown from either cockpit seat. It is equipped with an automatic navigation system to enhance crew efficiency. Four cathode ray tubes display essential information to the pilots.

On April 1, 1997, all continental U.S.-based C-21s were realigned under Air Mobility Command, with the 375th Airlift Wing at Scott Air Force  Base, Ill., as the lead command. C-21s stationed outside the continental United States are assigned to the theater commanders.

General characteristics

  • Crew: two (pilot and co-pilot)
  • Capacity: 8 passengers and 1,433 kg (3,153 lb) of cargo
  • Length: 14.71 m (48 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 11.97 m (39 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 3.71 m (12 ft 3 in)
  • Wing area: 23.53m² (253.3ft²)
  • Empty weight: 4,590kg (10,119 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 8,235 kg (18,300 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Garrett TFE731-2-2B turbofan, 3,500 lbf (16kN) each



  • Never exceed speed: 648 km/h (403 mph, 0.81M)
  • Maximum speed:  853 km/h (530 mph, Mach 0.81) at 12,500 m (41,000 ft)
  • Range:  3,690 km (2,004 nm, 2,306 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 13,700 m (45,000 ft)
Gates Learjet C-21A USAFE 84-0096
Gates Learjet C-21A USAFE 84-0096

All pictures courtesy of Zijde Aviation Photo and Publishing, Rob Vogelaar and Marcel van Leeuwen.