Bombardier expects to complete all the so-called data sets for the C Series airliner by year-end, as the Canadian company continues its deliberate march toward a second-half 2012 first flight of the 100- to 125-seat CS100. In fact, according to program vice president and general manager Rob Dewar, the program has progressed “well over” halfway through its detailed design phase, and several parts have already arrived at supplier sites and in Mirabel, Quebec, at Bombardier’s Complete Integrated Aircraft Systems Test Area (Ciasta)–a testing and proving facility designed to assess systems for reliability and functionality before the first prototype flies.
Dewar recently told AIN that the first wave of systems component delivery had begun, as suppliers began commissioning their rigs. Those suppliers need anywhere between three and six months to “mature” their own systems to ensure they function as planned. Once they do that, the systems arrive at the Ciasta, where Bombardier performs the integration tests.
Bombardier expected Parker Aerospace to commission the fly-by-wire system by the beginning of this month, followed by the electrical system by Hamilton Sundstrand next month. Because the avionics suite communicates with virtually all the other systems on the airplane and contains so much software, it requires more testing and integration work than do the other systems and so gets commissioned first, explained Dewar. Critical systems scheduled to run on Ciasta include the electrical system, hydraulics, the fly-by-wire system, the avionics and the Fadec. Bombardier had completed construction on the building in which the Ciasta resides and put in place all the infrastructure by the end of the summer, and a number of systems, including the generators, the avionics and wing leading edges, had all arrived “on dock” in Mirabel. “Again, a wave of parts continues to arrive daily,” said Dewar.
Since February 2010 Bombardier also saw more than satisfactory results during the testing of the airplane’s aluminum-lithium fuselage test barrel, built by China’s Shenyang Aircraft. Former Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Gary Scott, who unceremoniously retired in the midst of the program as of October 1, had told AIN that he expected Shenyang to start putting together actual subassemblies by the start of this year. However, Shenyang didn’t finish building its factory until “late March or April,” said Dewar, and Bombardier doesn’t expect to receive the first fuselage package until the middle of next year.