BOMBARDIER HAS officially opened an expansion of its Wichita, Kansas, flight-test centre to accommodate large aircraft such as the Global Express long-range business jet. The first Global Express is already at Wichita, and the second of four test aircraft will arrive there shortly.

The $10 million expansion doubles the centre's capacity and includes a hangar able to house three large aircraft. Bombardier says that the first de Havilland Dash 8 Series 400 70-seat regional turboprop is scheduled to arrive at Wichita by early 1998, followed roughly 18 months later by the first Canadair Regional Jet Series 700 70-seater.

The Canadian company acquired the Wichita test centre when it purchased Learjet in 1990. It then employed only 20 people. Bombardier expects the workforce to exceed 500 by the end of 1997. The centre has completed certification flight-testing of six regional, corporate and utility aircraft types since 1991, says the company.

Source: Flight International