Pratt & Whitney and have taken off the engine that was damaged on Cseries test aircraft FTV-1 during what Bombardier calls a “ground maintenance run”. Tearing down and failure analysis are to start on Sunday, according to Bombardier Aerospace President and Chief Operating Officer Guy Hachey. “We don’t know exactly what happened at this point in time,” Hachey told Aviation Week on the eve of the ’s (IATA) annual general meeting in Doha, Qatar.
Hachey confirmed that as part of the incident “there has been damage to the engine and the aircraft. From an aircraft perspective we think it is very repairable. It is nothing we are too worried about.”
FTV-1, the firsttest aircraft, had been undergoing ground testing when the failure happened on May 29. Bombardier will not confirm that the incident was an uncontained engine failure, but the circumstances and damage description point in that direction.
Bombardier has suspended flight tests because of it. “We have decided not to fly for the time being for safety reasons,” Hachey says. However, ground tests are continuing with FTV-2, FTV-3 and FTV-4. FTV-1 has been quarantined in a hangar. Hachey points out that customers have been contacted “immediately” as well as some of the aircraft’s suppliers.
Hachey plays down any potential implications for the program’s schedule. “We don’t believe at this point it (the failure) impacts entry into service.” But: “If it lasts a long time, of course it will.”
Bombardier currently has four test aircraft in its fleet. Once the current suspension is lifted, the manufacturer will quickly move into flight tests in normal law. All of the testing so far has been done in direct law, but Hachey says this has always been planned.
“All of the testing that we needed to do so far was in the direct mode, we have been flying normal mode on the iron bird extensively. The software functions fine.”
Hachey is still confident Republic Airways will stick to its order for 40 CSeries in spite of recent comments that it may not want to operate an aircraft as large. “The CSeries is going to feature in their portfolio over time,” he believes. He (Republic CEO Brian Bedford) is focusing more on the regional segment, but that does not mean he does not have a role for the CSeries down the road.