Today, on a brisk Quebec fall morning, Bombardier’s CSeries Flight Test Vehicle 1 (FTV1) took off for the first time at Mirabel Airport (YMX). I, along with
hundreds of three thousand Bombardier employees watched the takeoff at just before 10AM ET, and then we waited for FTV1 to return at 12:25 PM. Stands had been set up along the apron, with a somewhat distant view of the runway. Of course, there were airline VIPs watching, including executives from the airlines that have ordered the 177 CSeries planes on the books, and from airlines that Bombardier is trying to convince to order the CSeries.
FTV1’s first flight was 2 1/2 hours long, and was described as an “extremely, extremely successful test flight”, by Bombardier CSeries VP Robert Dewar. FTV1 Chief Test Pilot Chuck Ellis said “How did it fly? Like the predictions, like the sim(ulator).”
I’ve been writing about the CSeries for a while, and I was at Mirabel to cover this exciting event in Canadian aviation history for Airchive.com. I was really looking forward to not just seeing, but hearing the new tech PW1524G geared turbofans that power the CS100.
It was ironic, then, that FTV1 started rolling for takeoff while the loudspeakers in the viewing area were blaring with the commentary from the first flight webcast. I saw FTV1 take off, but didn’t hear anything. Had it been another single-aisle jet, I know I would have heard the engines over the sound system. FTV1, nope. It’s that quiet.
When FTV1 returned to YMX, the pilots flew a low approach over the runway, and again, the noise level was remarkably low. After a smooth landing, FTV1 taxied back to the apron and stopped right in front of the cheering crowd, and me. I tried to really listen. My perception? The CSeries is as quiet, if not quieter than a Q400 turboprop at a similar distance.
The quality of the sound is different, perhaps not surprising given that the PW1524Gs are fully cowled. The Q400 has two huge 6-bladed paddles spinning around, and the sound seems to be lower in pitch than the CSeries. In any event, Bombardier will be doing extensive performance testing of the CSeries during its 2,400 hour test flight program, and will no doubt determine the true sound level of the plane.
So there it is. FTV1 was the first of two first flights this week, with the 787-9 almost ready to go. Do you think the CSeries will be the game-changer in the market as Bombardier hopes? What about the competition? Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and the other companies aren’t sitting still, and almost all of the “next gen” planes are going to be powered by the same engine as the CSeries, or GE’s comparable LEAP series. It’s going to make for interesting times!
ADDITIONAL BOMBARDIER CSERIES’ FIRST FLIGHT PHOTOS, VIDEO AND MORE
- Full story and more photos on my Airchive.com story
- Video of the CSeries first flight via Bombardier
- Photos of the Bombardier CSeries New Paint Job – FTV1 First Flight Soon?
- FTV1 Is Rolling! Bombardier CSeries CS100 Starts Taxi Tests