The prototype Bombardier CRJ1000 NextGen regional jet took to the air on 3 September from the airframer's plant at Mirabel, near Montreal.

During the 3h 25min maiden sortie the 100-seater reached an altitude of 30,000ft (9,150m) and a maximum speed of 260kt (480km/h).

"We put the gear up, operated the flaps and slats and exercised our new 'fly-by-wire' rudder," says test pilot Jacques Thibaudeau.

"All systems worked as they were designed to do. The aircraft handled similarly to the smaller CRJ900 airliner so flightcrews will have no problem in transitioning to the 100-seat CRJ1000."

After initial test flights from Mirabel, the CRJ1000 - which was created through the modification of the CRJ900 prototype - is moving to Bombardier's flight-test centre in Wichita, Kansas.

From next year it will be joined by the first production CRJ1000 to prepare for entry into service and review by the flight operations evaluation board which comprise pilots from Transport Canada, the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency. The 100-seater is due to enter commercial service in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Source: Flight International