PARIS AIR SHOW: Bombardier eyes 2012 CSeries first flight as development picks up

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Bombardier has reached the joint definition phase of its CSeries programme and has confirmed the airliner will fly in 2012. Seventeen new suppliers have joined the programme, and the airframer has revealed substantial new details about progress on the 110/130-seat project.

The first CSeries composite aft fuselage demonstrator is advancing at Bombardier's Saint Laurent facility near Montreal, Canada, while the first centre fuselage barrel, being developed by China's Shenyang Aircraft, is scheduled to be shipped to Montreal in August.

Bombardier's Belfast facility in Northern Ireland is responsible for producing the CSeries composite wing, and it has begun assembly of its first demonstrator.

Installation of the upper skin panel has been completed and the lower skin panel will be added within weeks. The Belfast site is also preparing to break ground later this summer on a multi-million dollar wing assembly facility.

bombardier 
 © Bombardier

Meanwhile, Bombardier has revealed contracts with a multitude of additional suppliers for the Pratt & Whitney 1500G-powered CSeries. One of the most significant awards, for development and manufacture of the CSeries wheels, electro-mechanically actuated carbon brakes and brake control system, has been assigned to Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems, which tested the braking technology last October on a Global 5000.

Bombardier has also contracted Esterline Control Systems-Korry for the integrated cockpit control panels; Goodrich for its SmartProbe air data system, ice detection system and external, cockpit and maintenance lighting systems; Hamilton Sundstrand for the electrical system; Honeywell for the inertial reference system and the auxiliary power unit; and Kidde Aerospace & Defence for the integrated fire protection system.

Also tapped as CSeries suppliers are L-3 Aviation Recorders for the voice and flight data recording system; Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg for the complete landing gears system, Magnaghi & Salver for the composite inboard/outboard flaps, spoilers and main landing gear doors; Panasonic Avionics for the cabin management and passenger address system; Parker Air & Fuel Division for the fuel tank inerting system; Senior Aerospace BWT of Manchester for the low pressure air distribution systems; and Senior Aerospace SSP of California for the high pressure bleed air and ram air ducting systems.

The CSeries' fixed leading edges, slats and tracks will be supplied by Sonaca of Gosselies, Belgium, while Spirit AeroSystems will supply the complete pylons. Woodward MPC is earmarked to provide the throttle quadrant assembly.

Having secured a total 100 CSeries commitments from Lufthansa for its Swiss International Air Lines unit and Irish lessor LCI, and with "more than 150 potential customers showing strong interest" in the CSeries family, Bombardier has "no intention of turning back", says Bombardier new commercial aircraft programme director Ben Boehm.

The company will this autumn break ground on its first CSeries building in Mirabel, a testing and training facility called the complete integrated aircraft system test area, or CIASTA, which will be erected in advance of an assembly facility at the site.

CAE of Montreal will support the design, testing and certification of the test platform by providing a suite of engineering services and simulation-based technology tools to the CIASTA programme. After that, CAE will build prototype full flight simulator and CAE Simfinity devices for the CSeries.

A 2012 first flight will be followed by 12 months of flight testing. Certification is expected in the second half of 2013, followed by entry into service before the year is out.