The Irish Air Corps Learjet 45. Credit: Irish Defence Forces / Flickr Creative Commons
If you’ve ever been on a long road trip where the only thing that kept you entertained – or awake – was the car radio, you can thank an inventor named Bill.
Most inventors are considered a success if just one of their inventions takes off. And Bill, who was thrown out of high school before graduating, had one of those blockbusters.
But Bill isn’t best known for the car radio or 8-track tapes, which he also invented, or a system to steam-power vehicles, or various types of airplane autopilots.
What he IS best known for – the creation that bears his name – is something few of us actually have firsthand experience with.
It's a compact jet, which can compete with commercial airlines when it comes to speed. And despite a rough start – his prototype burned up after landing in 1964 – Bill Lear’s plane has found its niche among stars and execs alike.