Initial high-altitude tests of Bombardier’s new CSeries aircraft will be conducted in the manufacturer’s first flight test vehicle, not the soon-to-fly second flight test aircraft, says the company.

Speaking at the Aerospace Innovation Forum in Montreal, Bombardier’s vice president and general manager of the CSeries programme Rob Dewar says the first flight test vehicle, a CS100 variant dubbed FTV-1, will conduct the first tests at altitudes above 30,000ft.

Echoing past statements made by the company, Dewar adds that the second test aircraft, FTV-2, will be airborne in the coming weeks.

FTV-1 has flown a number of test flights since its first flight on 16 September, but has not climbed above 25,000ft, says the airframer.

Although Dewar says that the aircraft’s efficiency benefits are evident at lower altitudes, the greatest efficiency benefits are expected at cruising altitudes higher than 30,000ft.

Bombardier’s executives have said in recent days that they expect more orders for the aircraft as the ongoing flight test programme demonstrates the company’s projected fuel efficiency gains.

Bombardier has said the aircraft will burn up to 20% less fuel than competing models.

Dewar adds that all FTV-1 flights have all been conducted with the aircraft’s fly-by-wire system set to “direct” mode rather than “normal” mode.

Commercial pilots will typically fly in normal mode, which provides improved efficiency and flight envelope protections that prevent the aircraft from stalling or performing aggressive manoeuvring.

Direct mode lacks those protections and would not be used by pilots during normal operations.

Dewar says that the company is moving towards normal mode testing, but first is taking a “step by step” testing approach that will see the test aircraft operating at increasingly higher altitudes and flying longer flights.

So far, test flights have been between 1.5h and 4h, Dewar says.

He adds that weather conditions this winter could lead the company to conduct some tests at its facility in Wichita, Kansas, home to Bombardier subsidiary Learjet.

Source: Cirium Dashboard