Bombardier Reassessing CSeries Flight-Test Schedule

By Graham Warwick
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

Dewar says Bombardier decided to build the airframe sections at its own plants to protect the program in its early stages, when there are a lot of design changes, then transition them when the work became more repetitive. “We know China can build the fuselages, no question. They have done well on the rear fuselage and are tracking well to the plan,” he notes.

The CSeries is the first aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney's geared turbofan—a decision that was critical to meeting the aircraft's aggressive fuel-economy, noise and emissions targets. “The engine is on track with performance. We will now validate its inflight performance integrated with the aircraft,” says Dewar.

Pratt plans a series of minor improvements to the PW1500G to ensure initial CSeries will meet fuel-burn performance guarantees. The company has assembled 11 production engines at its Mirabel site, six of which are installed on the initial three CS100 test aircraft. Since flying the first PW1524G on its Boeing 747SP testbed in June 2011, Pratt has also begun testing the PW1200G for the Mitsubishi MRJ and PW1100G for the Airbus A320Neo, and says lessons learned from these engines will be applied to the CSeries.

“From Number 1 onward they have been full-up production engines,” says Bob Saia, vice president of commercial development programs for Pratt & Whitney. “They are just lagging some of the performance items that we have developed and some improvements we will make. We are targeting them for introduction in the last shipset of flight-test engines for the first CS300s,” he says, adding “We slowed the CSeries engine definition so suppliers can make the parts to the EIS configuration.”

The final service-entry standard will be introduced as a block change modification and includes “things associated with optimized cooling. We have turned down flow in some areas and pressurized some bleed cavities,” says Saia. As a result Pratt expects to pick up “a few tenths of a percent” of fuel-burn improvement. “That will put us right on our guarantee to Bombardier so we're on target for the first customer.”

Efforts are underway, meanwhile, to reduce the CSeries weight. “We have a small challenge, which is normal in development, so we are in a weight-saving mode,” says Dewar. “We plan to be on track with or better than all guarantees.”

With Guy Norris in Los Angeles.

See video and photos of the CSeries first flight on our Things With Wings blog at:

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