Bombardier to forgo CSeries prototype in test programme

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Bombardier is forgoing for the CSeries its usual practice of building a prototype aircraft for flight testing, and instead intends to build and eventually sell all five CSeries aircraft in its test programme.

"We are not building a prototype. All [test aircraft] will be sold. Those who buy that airplane will probably get a discount," Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Gary Scott told journalists last week during a briefing in New York.

He says three of the five aircraft will be "fully instrumented aircraft", collecting a lot of detailed engineering information needed to validate the airframer's commitments to customers.

"All five will go into revenue service. That's new for Bombardier," says Scott.

First flight of the CSeries is slated to occur in 2012 with flight testing expected to take over a year. Service entry is expected for 2013.

Although Bombardier has secured 100 CSeries commitments from both Lufthansa for its Swiss International Air Lines unit and Irish lessor LCI, it has not announced who will take the very first aircraft.

"Lufthansa's [first CSeries, due in 2014] is not the very first airplane," says Scott.