Bombardier has begun converting a CRJ700 test aircraft to the new stretch CRJ900 configuration with the insertion of a forward 2.29m (7.5ft) and aft 1.57m fuselage plugs. The modified prototype is set to fly in the first quarter of 2001, and will be followed in mid-2002 by a second purpose-built CRJ900 test aircraft. Unlike the prototype, the second aircraft will incorporate a strengthened wing, two additional overwing exits, and uprated General Electric CF34-8C5 engines. Certification of the 86-seater is targeted for the third quarter of 2002 and first delivery in early 2003. Some 62 commitments have been received for the new model from Brit Air, GE Capital Aviation Services, Tyrolean Airways and Air Nostrum.
Source: Flight International