Bombardier silent on next CSeries test flight

Washington DC
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Bombardier has provided no timetable for returning the CSeries test aircraft (FTV-1) to flying status while a second round of ground vibration testing continues.

Rob Dewar, Bombardier’s vice-president and general manager for CSeries, says in a video update on 17 October that he “looks forward to get [the CSeries] back up in the air”.

FTV-1 stopped flying after completing its third flight test on 3 October. The first three tests allowed Bombardier to clear the landing gear certification and gain insight into the aircraft’s high-lift systems, such as flaps.

FTV-1 also performed a “bunch of other flight manoeuvres” as the test team works to expand the flight envelope, Dewar says.

Dewar also noted that the aircraft remains in ground vibration testing, even though Bombardier said last June that such testing had been completed.

The previous round of ground vibration testing simply cleared the FTV-1 for first flight, says Philippe Poutissou, vice-president of marketing for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. The second round will allow Bombardier to proceed into envelope expansion flights.

“It was a decision of sequencing that we made earlier,” Poutissou says on the sidelines of the Canadian Aerospace Summit in Ottawa.

FTV-1 demonstrated in the first three flights the stability and control that Bombardier expected, Poutissou says.

The aircraft flew all three flights in direct mode, meaning that the normal fly-by-wire control system has so far not been activated. The next round of flight tests will begin examining the normal mode of the fly-by-wire system, in which the flight computer commands the control surfaces based on inputs by the pilot.

“We are getting ready to fly the aircraft higher, faster and at a different [centre of gravity],” Poutissou adds.

Although local spotters have tweeted FTV-1 is out of the hangar, Bombardier is unwilling to commit to a timetable for a return to flight.

“Flight test programmes are fluid,” says Poutissou. “I can’t give you a time.”

The CSeries completed the first flight test in Montreal on 16 Sepember. Bombardier is targeting to complete airworthiness testing for the CS100 model in 11 months, including about 2,500h of flight testing.

Murdo Morrison contributed to this report