has delivered a third airliner to the flight-test program as firm orders pass the 200 mark with the purchase of an additional three CS300s by an unidentified existing customer.
With the total now standing at 201 aircraft, the company has targeted 300 firm orders by entry into service, planned for the second half of 2015 for the initial 110-seat CS100, and six months later for the 135-seat CS300.
Aircraft FTV3 is being prepared for first flight “in the coming weeks,” says Rob Dewar, vice president and general manager for CSeries, in a video update on the program. After initial flights from Mirabel, near Montreal, the aircraft will join FTV1 in Wichita, Ks.
Dewar acknowledges the flight-test program has begun more slowly than anticipated, and in part blames the weather in Canada, which is the reason FTV1 was relocated to Wichita to continue envelope expansion, handling qualities and engine testing.
In-flight relight tests on the Pratt & Whitneygeared turbofans have gone “better than expected,” he says, adding that tests with FTV1 and FTV2, which continues to fly from Mirabel, “show we are on track with the aircraft’s performance.”
FTV3 is the avionics-test aircraft, and will fly in Wichita because that is Bombardier’s center of excellence for avionics, Dewar says.
FTV4, the performance-test aircraft has been powered up on the final-assembly line in Mirabel. And the fuselage and wing of FTV5, which will be the first to get an interior, have been joined.
After the five CS100 flight-test aircraft comes the first of two for certification testing of the larger CS300. This is planned to fly later this year, he says.