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Industry News
Bombardier's CSeries aircraft completes first flight

After several days of weather-caused delay, Bombardier's 100- to 149-seat CSeries aircraft flies for the first time in Canada and launches the aircraft's flight test program.

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Posted on: 9/17/2013
Source: CompositesWorld

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GKN CSeries wing structure.

GKN CSeries wing structure. (Source: GKN)

Bombardier Aerospace (Montréal, Québec, Canada) celebrated the successful first flight of its CSeries aircraft on Sept. 16, a major milestone in the company’s highly anticipated development program that will provide operators with an all-new family of aircraft specifically designed for the 100- to 149-seat market segment. The maiden flight marks the start of the CSeries aircraft’s flight test program leading up to the first customer delivery, and was also the first flight for Pratt & Whitney’s new Geared Turbofan PurePower engine as part of an aircraft certification program.

The historic flight of CSeries flight test vehicle one (FTV1) – a CS100 jetliner bearing Canadian registration markings C-FBCS – was conducted under the command of captain Charles (Chuck) Ellis, chief flight test pilot, Bombardier Flight Test Center. Capt. Ellis was assisted by his colleagues, captain Andris (Andy) Litavniks and Andreas Hartono in the roles of first oifficer and flight test engineer, respectively. The flight departed from Montréal–Mirabel International Airport at approximately 9:55 EDT and returned at approximately 12:25 EDT.

“The performance of the CSeries aircraft was very impressive! We couldn’t have wished for a better maiden flight,” says Ellis. “FTV1’s state-of-the-art flight deck was responsive and comfortable, and the aircraft handled exactly as expected. Overall, we had a very productive first flight and an excellent start to the flight test program.”

“This is a very proud day for Bombardier and a true validation of the CSeries aircraft’s design and development, and of our extensive ground test program,” says Rob Dewar, vice president and general manager, CSeries Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “Five years in the making, the CSeries aircraft’s first flight is the culmination of an incredible amount of hard work and dedication from our employees, partners and suppliers around the world.

“During its maiden flight, CSeries FTV1 reached an altitude of 12,500 ft [3,810m] and an air speed of 230 knots [426 kmh]. In-flight tests included flap and landing gear retractions and extensions; in-flight manoeuvres that included a simulated landing; and early validation of the flight control system. Additionally, we’re also delighted that many of our guests commented on the impressive and quiet performance during takeoff and landing,” adds Dewar.

The first CSeries aircraft was greeted by more than 3,000 Bombardier employees and board members, customers, partners and suppliers, upon its return to the company’s Mirabel, Québec facility, where the final assembly line for the CSeries aircraft program is now under construction.

A total of five CS100 flight test vehicles, all of which are currently in various stages of assembly, will join the flight test program in the coming months. 

GKN Aerospace (Redditch, Worcestershire, U.K.) offered its congratulations to Bombardier on the first flight of the CSeries aircraft. GKN Aerospace is contracted through Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast to develop and supply critical structures on the advanced composite wings, which Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast has responsibility for producing, and which are amongst the largest and most complex composite aircraft structures to be manufactured and assembled in the U.K.

GKN Aerospace is responsible for the development, design and manufacture of the all-composite aileron and winglet structures for the CS100 and CS300 aircraft. The company’s engineering team has completed a three-year design and development program to create an innovative, one-piece aileron and winglet that minimises structural weight and complexity while offering critical performance benefits to the airframe. A state-of-the-art manufacturing and assembly process also increases the speed of manufacture and reduces production costs.

CSeries aileron and winglet design and development have been undertaken at GKN Aerospace’s engineering centres in Munich, Germany and the Isle of Wight, U.K. Production is taking place at the Isle of Wight manufacturing facility.

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