Bill Lear was always in a hurry. In late 1964 he jumped into the left seat of one of the first Learjet 23s, fired it up and began taxiing, unfortunately with a still-plugged-in external power unit being yanked behind the airplane, as line crews raced after.. Needless to say, the EPU connection was soon redesigned preventing a recurrence.
It was not uncommon to be seated in a Learjet with Bill Lear up front and watch him rise and turn toward you, screwdriver in hand, with some 10 feet of avionics cabling pouring from an opened instrument panel. A tinkerer he was. Once for Christmas company engineers presented him with a screwdriver featuring a constantly swiveling handle.
In 1965 Bill Lear found himself engaged in a mild shoving match with an NBAA security guard who took offense that Bill was attempting to enter the exhibition hall which required an official convention attendee badge. Bill seldom carried any pocket money; he certainly wasn’t going to be bothered with hanging a badge around his neck. Spoiler alert: he got in.
In its first decade, Learjet-Wichita hosted scores of Hollywood actors, sports celebrities, national news figures and leading politicians — to see and touch the Learjet and many because they knew and wanted to visit with Bill and Moya Lear. Just a few: Fred Waring, Milton Berle, Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye, George Peppard, Andy Williams, Henry Mancini, James Brown, Bobby Rydell, John Denver, Susan Oliver, Johnny Carson, Blake Edwards, Rocky Marciano, Mickey Mantle, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Jules Bergman, Peter Jennings, Howard K. Smith, Richard Nixon, John Glenn and Barry Goldwater.