Bombardier is pacing to reach design freeze on its 110/130-seat CSeries aircraft next month, and says it is fully confident the aircraft will perform as advertised after reaching a number of benchmarks in the programme.

"We are on schedule with the programme. We will be exiting the joint definition phase early next month and many of our work packages and suppliers have already exited. That's the point at which we will have frozen the design," Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Gary Scott tells ATI and Flightglobal.

"One of the things you do at the end of the joint definition phase is confirm the performance of the airplane. We absolutely have confirmed that we can deliver this airplane as advertised. We have always been confident, but now we have the design and tests in place to verify that this airplane will perform as advertised and will deliver all the game-changing attributes as advertised."

Bombardier has already taken the CSeries aluminium-lithium fuselage demonstrator to 60,000 cycles, the equivalent of one lifetime. "It has gone quite well, with very few discoveries. Just what you might imagine, a few cracks on some insignificant parts, such as clips and brackets, so it really has proved out our initial design and given us an opportunity to pull some weight out of the airplane, which is always one of our objectives." The fuselage demonstrator will be tested to a total 180,000 cycles.

Ultimate load testing on the CSeries' carbonfibre wing demonstrator, meanwhile, will occur in the coming days. However, Bombardier has opted not to go past ultimate load testing and break the wing, as originally intended.

CSeries wing test

"Now we're thinking we'll probably stop at ultimate load and continue to test the wing because the testing has gone so well and it gives us opportunities to continue for weight improvements and reductions."

Customer interest in the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1000G-powered CSeries CSeries continues to escalate, he says. "The only thing we need now is for the world to continue to cooperate, for the economy to continue to grow and for airlines to return to profitability and put themselves in a position to order the aircraft that they will need in the future."

To date, Bombardier has secured 90 firm orders and 90 options for the CSeries. The aircraft is scheduled to enter service in 2013.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news