PICTURES: First CSeries, Almost Complete

Bombardier has released some pictures from today's (March 7) unveiling of the first CSeries flight-test aircraft, FTV-1, at the Mirabel plant near Montreal.


Photos: Bombardier

Bombardier called the event a program update and not a roll-out, and you can see why as the aircraft is not quite complete. But it was an unveiling, as they pulled back the black curtain to reveal FTV-1 with its gear down (but still jacked up) and Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared-turbofan engines installed.

Rob Dewar, vice president for the CSeries integrated product team, says the aircraft is structurally complete, all the wiring is fitteded and the last systems are being installed. You can see several of the fairings are missing, to allow access for final installations. In a few weeks, after functional tests, he says, FTV-1 will move to flight test to begin the work-up to a first flight by the end of June.

Meanwhile, the complete-airframe structural test article has completed its first two tests - a pressure test and the wing maximum up-bending test. The latter simulated a gust upload to 115% of design load, the most the carbonfiber wing is expected to see in service. The tip deflected 5ft, which was within predictions, he says.

Aircraft 0, the integrated systems rig or iron bird at St Laurent, Montreal, has completed its first block of tests and is now being used for safety-of-flight testing in preparation for first flight. The full-motion engineering simulator, likewise, is being used for safety-of-flight testing and is ready to begin training flight-test crews, Dewar says.

The fly-by-wire flight control system - Bombardier's first - is "on the critical path" to first flight, but is "tracking to plan", he says. The final rig tests to support first flight are underway at integrator Parker Aerospace in Irvine, California.

The first version to fly is the 110-seat CS100, and flight testing will involve five aircraft, which must be delivered at a rate of one a month to execute the planned 12-month certification test program. Dewar says the remaining aircraft are on track. The 135-seat CS300 is scheduled to fly early in 2014 for certification by the end of next year.

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