Bombardier is waiting until the first three CSeries test aircraft are flying before announcing a new service-entry date for the all-new narrowbody airliner, say company executives.
The second aircraft, FTV2, is expected to join FTV1 in the flight-test program “in a couple of weeks,” and FTV3 “will follow right after,” says Bombardier Aerospace President Guy Hachey in an interview with Aviation Week at the Aero Montreal forum.
“What we’re doing is taking our time to assess how FTV1 and FTV2 are going to be doing and at what rates we can get the [flight-test] hours done,” he says.
“So far we’re pushing the organization to do a one-year flight-test program. It’s very aggressive, and we understand that, but we’re not leaving that until we’ve had a full evaluation of how we’re doing,” Hachey says.
The initial CS100 variant of the CSeries was planned to enter service in mid-2014, and the larger CS300 a year later, but when first flight slipped past the end of July, as scheduled, Bombardier stopped giving in-service dates. FTV1 eventually made its first flight on Sept. 16, and analysts predict service entry for the CS100 will slide into early 2015.
“We will get FTV3 in the air, get early data, then solidify the schedule,” says Rob Dewar, Bombardier vice president and general manager for the CSeries. “So far there are no major problems.”
FTV3 is the avionics-test aircraft and is planned to fly from Mirabel to Bombardier’s flight-test center in Wichita for testing. As the Canadian winter sets in, other aircraft may also fly south if the weather in Wichita looks better for testing, Dewar says.
The CSeries has had what looks like a slow start to testing, with the flights interspersed with extended periods of ground testing and aircraft upgrades. Bombardier says this is a deliberate plan to ensure as many flights as possible qualify for certification credit.