Bombardier CRJ1000 Still Grounded

 - January 15, 2010, 4:39 AM

The pair of CRJ1000s participating in the program’s flight-test program remain grounded as Bombardier engineers continue to work on a solution to the software “glitch” that led to a halt in flight testing in September. “The Bombardier CRJ1000 team is entirely focused on the software glitch and additional testing of the rudder CBW (command by wire) system,” a Bombardier spokesman told AIN. “These activities are most efficiently performed on the ground.”

During the company’s third-quarter earnings call in November, Bombardier Aerospace COO Guy Hachey said that flight testing would resume “shortly after Christmas,” but this week the spokesman would not issue a new estimate.

“[We] prefer not to assign timing to this just yet,” he wrote. “Our priorities are already stated.”

The software problem in question first surfaced early last summer and delayed planned certification from late 2009 to Bombardier’s first fiscal quarter of this year, which runs from February 1 to April 30. After the company thought it found the problem, performed repairs and began flying the prototypes once again, another anomaly, similar to the original, surfaced, in late August. This most recent problem has delayed Canadian and EASA certification until some time during the second half of 2010.

“Obviously, we did not get to the root cause,” said Hachey. “At that point we put together our most seasoned people outside the program for external help to make a full assessment of the program, and we have determined the root cause.”

A resolution required further software changes, said Hachey, and some “thorough simulation,” a process that evidently continues.

Bombardier now holds firm orders for 35 CRJ1000s from Spain’s Air Nostrum and 14 from France’s Brit Air. Last summer Bombardier cut ties with a one-time third customer–Italy’s MyAir–after the Italian civil aviation authority (ENAC) lifted its operating certificate for financial reasons, effectively reducing the type’s firm order count by 15 airplanes.