Bombardier has confirmed that the CSeries flight test vehicle still must complete two series of runway tests before attempting a first flight.

The flying debut of the FTV-1 model of the CS100-sized test aircraft appeared to make substantial progress in high-speed taxi tests early on 9 September.

The aircraft reached a top speed of 124kt (230km/h), which is at or near rotation speed, during the tests. A video released by Bombardier also indicates the flight crew was able to lift the nose wheel and rock the wings briefly to check roll response during the high-speed test.

Despite the progress, however, the FTV-1 aircraft has not yet completed high-speed taxi runs at the Mirabel airport at Bombardier's final assembly centre for commercial aircraft outside Montreal, the company says.

The flight test team also must check landing gear vibration levels before clearing FTV-1 for the milestone initial flight test.

Bombardier has not opened a window for first flight beyond saying that it is "coming soon". Since the last of three programme delays occurred in late July, Bombardier has stopped setting specific deadlines for the event, instead preferring more vague terms such as "the coming weeks" and "coming soon".

The FTV-1 is the first aircraft in the small narrowbody class to incorporate such new technologies as an aluminium-lithium airframe and a Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1500G geared turbofan engine.

The CSeries, which includes the 135-seat CS300 variant, also introduces the first fully fly-by-wire aircraft from Bombardier, using a system designed by Parker Aerospace and integrated by Rockwell Collins.

Bombardier executives are waiting on the first flight milestone before resetting the schedule for entry into service, which previously was pegged to 12 months after the first flight date.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news