Bombardier’s new CSeries airliner won’t fly by the end of July as most recent program schedules had indicated, the company confirmed in a statement released Wednesday. It now expects first flight to occur “in the coming weeks.”
“The CSeries aircraft’s overall integration is progressing well; however, the highly technical last steps are taking more time than initially anticipated to validate the overall systems and ongoing software integration,” said the statement.
Still, the company said that the integration of the first flight test vehicle’s auxiliary power unit and Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engines “is running smoothly,” allowing for testing of the aircraft’s “key” systems. It also reported successful completion of late software upgrades.
“Seeing the first CSeries aircraft power up on the tarmac was a thrilling event,” said Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Mike Arcamone. “We have now entered the ultimate phase of systems integration and validation on the first flight test vehicle as we submit brand-new technology to in-depth tests,”
What Bombardier calls important and complex preparations for first flight includes “aircraft in-the-loop” testing (ACIL). During ACIL tests, engineers “fly” the aircraft on the ground in a simulated flight environment to ensure the first aircraft behaves in the same manner as experienced with the on-the-ground Complete Integrated Aircraft Systems Test Area (CIASTA), also known as “Aircraft 0.” Next, the flight test team plans to conduct low- and high-speed taxiing.
Activities with Transport Canada to obtain the Flight Test Permit for FTV1 “are progressing steadily and the permit is also expected in the coming weeks,” concluded Bombardier.