CSeries - More Work Ahead

You can watch video of the first take-off and landing, and see air-to-air pictures of the flight, but the fact that the Bombardier CSeries has flown hasn't ended the debate over whether the aircraft will be a success.

The first flight on Sep. 16 clearly was successful, as it went for the full 2.5hr and accomplished all the planned test points, with only one fault - an erroneous subsystem advisory message - according to Bombardier.



Aircraft FTV1 took off at mid-weight and reduced thrust and stayed in the middle of its flight envelope throughout the flight, reaching 12,500ft altitude and 230kt airspace and never straying more than 30nm from the Mirabel runway.

Chief test pilot Chick Ellis says they cycled the landing gear and varied flap and slat settings (although none of the pictures or video released so far show the gear retracted), and the fly-by-wire system was kept in its direct, or degraded, backup mode throughout so the aircraft's responses (and not the computers) could be evaluated. He seemed pleased with they way it flew.



The remaining four CS100 test aircraft are in various stages of final asembly at Mirabel, along with the first production 110-seat CS100 and the first flight-test vehicle for the 130- to 160-seat CS300. We are now waiting to here from Bombardier when the aircraft will enter service. Publicly it is still saying it will be 12 months from first flight, but that is being reassessed.

Firms orders still stand at 177, and Bombardier has blamed the "787 factor" for airlines' reluctance to commit until the aircraft is further along in its development. The company is hoping for an inflection point when flight testing has accumulated enough data to validate its performance claims, which should come by mid-way through the 2,400 flight-hour program.

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Meanwhile, in case you missed my colleague Brian Bostick's earlier post, an order tally of 177 aircraft by first flight isn't too bad for an all-new airliner. Take a look at this subset of his data:

RANKTYPE/FAMILYORDERS AT FIRST FLIGHTDATE OF FIRST FLIGHT
17878322009-12-15
2A3506132013-06-14
3A3202651987-02-22
4CSeries1772013-09-16
57671751981-09-26
67471691969-02-09
127371401967-04-09
13A3801392005-04-27

Ranking fourth in orders by first flight itsn't too shabby, and And Bombardier says it is certain the CSeries will make its 300 firm-order target by entry into service. That means another 123 orders - which Brian's data-mining shows is actually tougher task than it might look:

RANKTYPE/FAMILYADDITIONAL ORDERSDATE OF FIRST DELIVERY
1ERJ 1701482004-03-05
2SSJ1132011-04-19
3DC-9521965-09-18
4787512011-09-25
7A380362007-10-12
8A320321988-03-26
15747181969-12-12

If the CSeries makes 300 orders by first delivery, it will beat the A320 by three aircraft. You can see all of Brain's histroical data and his analysis over at his earlier post.

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All photos and videos: Bombardier

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