Bombardier is confident the recent engine-related incident with one of the CSeries test aircraft will not derail its plan to see the regional airliner entering service as scheduled in the second half of 2015.
At present the manufacturer “does not have the root cause” of the incident, which occurred during “stationary planned ground maintenance testing”, says Guy Hachey, president of Bombardier Aerospace, speaking at the IATA AGM in Doha.
CSeries FTV1 was undergoing ground testing on 29 May when the failure occurred. It involved a Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofan on the first flying prototype.
The engine was removed from FTV1 on 30 May and has been transported to Pratt & Whitney’s Connecticut facility for examination, says Hachey. “We are working very closely with P&W,” he says.
The CSeries flight test programme has been suspended for safety reasons pending the outcome of the investigations into the cause of the incident. “We are hoping that as the week unfolds we will have more information,” says Hachey.
“We had an event and if we establish it’s something we have to fix then we’ll fix it,” he adds. “In any flight test programme there will be things that will happen and it is not unexpected that we will have some problems. We have factored that into our timeline and schedules so we can absorb [delays].”
Bombardier called its customers and key stakeholders to update them on the incident immediately after it occurred, says Hachey. “They were very appreciative of getting a heads-up…and nobody cancelled [their orders],” he says.
Despite the setback, Hachey says that stationary tests of other systems on the prototypes such as the APU, electrical systems and avionics continues, says Hachey. “We are not losing time,” he adds. However, the PW1500G engines will not be run for the time being.
Hachey points out that the four test aircraft have accumulated just under 330 hours of flight testing while the PurePower PW1000 engine family overall has 9,000 hours of testing, including over half of this number relating to the CSeries programme.
The gathering momentum of the test programme is the message Bombardier is relaying to existing and prospective customers at the AGM as it shares performance data from the test aircraft.
“The aircraft is performing as per modelling and expectations,” says Hachey.
The test data “takes away the paper airplane” tag for the CSeries. “The aircraft is on track for weight and on track for fuel consumption,” says Hachey.
Bombardier has firm orders and commitments for 452 CSeries aircraft, Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows.