Following first flight of the airliner, is to review its test plans to see if it can still achieve certification and entry-into-service (EIS) in 12 months, as scheduled.
Although initial results from the Sept. 16 first flight are “in line with expectations,” CSeries vice president and general manager Rob Dewar acknowledges that ground tests took longer than planned when the program was laid out in 2008.
“We really need to reassess, to take another look at the scope of flight testing and how fast we can do it,” he said during a press conference after the first flight. “Our focus has been on early entry-into-service, but the aircraft has to be mature and ready for EIS.”
Dewar says the reassessment “will take a couple of months” and require a few more flights, as well as discussions with CSeries customers. Even with the delay to first flight, which was originally planned for December, there still is some cushion in the schedule before Bombardier would incur penalties for late delivery, he says.
Bombardier took advantage of the delays to upgrade software and mature systems so that flight testing would be more productive. This paid dividends on the first flight, which lasted the planned 2.5 hr. and completed the full test card.
There was one minor fault on the flight, said chief test pilot Chuck Ellis—an advisory message from one of the subsystems. “There was a message, but no functionality issue,” said Dewar, adding, “I was expecting 5-10 such erroneous messages, not just one.”
The remaining four CS100 flight-test vehicles are in various stages of final assembly at the Mirabel plant, outside Montreal, but Bombardier plans to wait to see if any changes come out of the initial flights of the first flight-test aircraft, FTV1, before flying additional aircraft, Dewar says.
The first production CS100, as well as the first flight-test CS300, are in final assembly at Bombardier’s Mirabel facility.
A new assembly building for the CSeries is to be completed in mid-2014, when production is planned to move over from the converted existing facilities now being used to assemble the test and initial production aircraft.
Bombardier expects the CSeries development program to still cost $3.4 billion, but the manufacturer now has to add $500 million in interest paid on program financing to comply with International Financial Reporting Standards. “My target is to keep it below $4 billion,” says Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.