FARNBOROUGH: Parker Aerospace defends fly-by-wire system on CSeries, Legacy

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Parker Aerospace executives say their fly-by-wire flight control system for the Bombardier CSeries is not facing the kind of delays experienced by another platform using similar technology.

Embraer has blamed Parker's "stick-to-surface" fly-by-wire for a 12-month delay on the Legacy 450 business jet. Bombardier has selected a similar Parker system for the CSeries, which the airframer describes as its highest risk item in the development programme.

Parker, however, believes it is making good progress with the CSeries system.

"We're working much better with Bombardier," says Bob Barker, who recently stepped down as president of Parker Aerospace but remains an executive.

"I don't see anything near the kind of delays we've had on the Legacy programme with Bombardier," Barker adds. "It remains a big challenge but we think we're up to the challenge of getting it done."

Barker cites the length of a recent executive meeting between Parker and Bombardier as proof of the progress made with the fly-by-wire controls.

"The whole meeting lasted about 20 minutes," he says. "Everyone was on the same page. Everyone was on the same schedule. We had a couple of issues to discuss and that was it."

The CSeries is scheduled to complete a first flight by the end of this year, although Bombardier officials have acknowledged the risk of a three-to-six month slip. For its part, Bombardier says it is "satisfied" with the progress being made by Parker.

The Legacy 450, meanwhile, is now scheduled to complete first flight in September, which is one year behind the original schedule.

"Embraer intends to have first flight in September and Parker is part of that," Barker says. "We should be able to meet the schedules to support first flight in September."

Although Parker's system was selected by both Bombardier and Embraer, there are significant differences between them. BAE systems supplies the critical flight control computer for the Legacy 450, while Bombardier had already selected Rockwell Collins to supply the same component before selecting Parker to integrate it into its fly-by-wire controls.