Bombardier has started assembling the fuselage of the first CSeries flight test vehicle (FTV-1) and begun the process of mating the wings to the static test airframe.

The two steps move the programme closer to achieving first flight with less than 12 weeks remaining in 2012.

The start of assembly of FTV-1 comes about four weeks after Bombardier initiated the same process on the complete airframe static test (CAST) article. In the interim, the company's Short Brothers division in Belfast delivered the first set of wings for the CAST article.

Completing assembly of the CAST article will allow FTV-1 to enter the wing-to-body join position. Bombardier also intends to complete assembly of the four remaining flight test vehicles in one-month intervals.

Bombardier also reports that it is continuing to perform tests on what it calls Aircraft 0, a ground-based rig for integrated systems and certification testing. The rig includes the same fly-by-wire controls, hydraulics power, flight deck and landing gear as the flight test aircraft, allowing Bombardier to perform simulated flights for which it hopes to receive certification credit.

Bombardier continues to drive toward a first flight of FTV-1 by the end of the year, but it has acknowledged a minor delay is likely.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news