Bombardier Aerospace (Belfast, Ireland) reported on July 19 at the Farnborough International Airshow that it has completed the ultimate load test on the CSeries aircraft composite demonstrator wing, successfully replicating 150 percent of the most severe forces the wing is ever likely to experience in service.
The Belfast operation is responsible for the design, manufacture and integration of the complete wing for the CSeries aircraft, including all flight control surfaces and high lift systems. A key feature is the composite torque box, which is being produced using Belfast’s innovative Resin Transfer Infusion composite technology. As part of the complex research and development program, a full-scale, three-quarter span pre-production demonstrator wing was assembled, which has been undergoing rigorous testing.
Loads were progressively increased on the demonstrator wing in order to simulate aerodynamic, landing gear and engine pylon forces, until ultimate loading was successfully achieved.
“We are now assessing the data from the thousands of strain gauges, and are delighted with the results we’ve obtained so far,” said Michael Ryan, vice president and general manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast. “The data will help us to optimize the final production design for weight and performance. This successful demonstrator test confirms that our Resin Transfer Infusion process is an excellent means by which to manufacture the large primary structural elements of the composite wing torque box for the CSeries aircraft.”
Having successfully achieved ultimate loading, Bombardier engineers are continuing to carry out further tests on the demonstrator wing to assess the wing’s capability of sustaining various types and levels of damage. This will also allow them to ensure that repair systems are proven before the aircraft enter into service.
“We want to take every opportunity to learn as much as we possibly can before we finalize the wing design and start production. We are focusing on and testing various areas so we can be absolutely confident in the structure and its maintainability. This is another means by which we are building confidence amongst our customers and potential customers,” Mr. Ryan added.
In addition to the assembly and testing of the demonstrator wing, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast has carried out more than 4,000 individual material, structural detail and sub-component development tests to prove out the design, manufacturing and assembly technologies being employed.
Production of the CSeries aircraft wings is due to get under way early in 2011 in a new 600,000-ft²/55,742m² purpose-built factory in Belfast, the first phase of which is nearing completion.
Since launching the CSeries family of aircraft at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2008, Bombardier has recorded firm orders for a total of 90 CSeries aircraft.