Well, it isn’t up in the air — at least, not yet.
Engine and Auxilliary Power Unit (APU) testing has started, but so far, we don’t think CS100 Flight Test Vehicle 1 (FTV1) has yet moved under it’s own power.
FTV1 was supposed to be flying by the end of July. That was the date given by Bombardier after the previous first flight date at the end of June slipped by a month. Last Wednesday was one week before the end of July, and Mike Arcamone, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, made the announcement about the further delay.
Now, FTV1’s first flight is “to take place in the coming weeks.”
Arcamone stated, “Seeing the first CSeries aircraft power up on the tarmac was a thrilling event. We have now entered the ultimate phase of systems integration and validation on the first flight test vehicle as we submit brand new technology to in-depth tests. While the process has taken more time than we had expected, we are pleased with the results and are very comfortable taking more time to ensure the required integration is finalized and the CSeries aircraft is cleared for its first flight.”
In the last week of June, Bombardier applied to the Canadian aviation regulator, Transport Canada, for permission to fly FTV1. The CSeries may be the most advanced commercial jetliner ever produced in Canada, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Transport Canada is taking their time with the evaluation.
There’s still more engines runs, vibration testing, and low and high speed taxiing to be completed before FTV1 flies.
Lately, we’re seeing the media’s hyper-attention focussed on aircraft: Asiana at SFO, Southwest at LGA, and of course, the 787’s fire issues. The CSeries is being targeted, too, with it’s delay sometimes being compared against the A380 and Dreamliner. But let’s be realistic – a few months delay taken against the lifespan of a commercial aircraft program really isn’t significant.
However, once FTV1 does fly, Bombardier will have to ensure that the CSeries’ progress to Entry Into Service (EIS) is smooth and uneventful. Airline customers, and even more importantly, potential customers are watching very carefully. The success or failure of the program may very well depend on what happens after the first flight, not before.
We’ll be watching FTV1’s progess at Mirabel, and we’ll keep you updated.
|Howard Slutsken, Senior Correspondent. Howard has been an AvGeek since he was a kid, watching TCA Super Connies, Viscounts and early jets at Montreal’s Dorval Airport. He’s a pilot who loves to fly gliders and pretty well anything else with wings.Howard is based in Vancouver, BC. @HowardSlutsken|