Bombardier has delivered the first CRJ700 regional jet to a North American operator. But entry into revenue service with Horizon Air will have to await avionics software modifications in order for the carrier to receive US Federal Aviation Administration operational certification.
According to the manufacturer, two relatively minor issues have prevented the FAA from awarding the FAR 121 operational approval needed for the carrier to put the aircraft into commercial service. The CRJ700 received US FAR 25 type certification in February, following approval by Transport Canada and the European Joint Aviation Authorities.
FAR 121 approval has been held up by the discovery of 'erroneous guidance' from the aircraft's flight control computer during windshear detection. Unlike the FAA, this did not form part of the JAA compliance requirements for the first CRJ700s which entered service with Brit Air earlier this year.
A fault was also found in the aircraft's 87-parameter flight data recorder, which requires a modification to the digital control unit. Five channels were recording incorrectly, while a sixth measuring low oil pressure was not functioning. The French and German authorities have granted a waiver until this is fixed.
Bombardier has remedies and plans to issue a service bulletin shortly covering both items. The FAA is now expected to grant FAR 121 approval by the end of June, at which point Horizon will put the aircraft into substitute service ahead of the start of scheduled flights in September. Horizon is to receive 14 CRJ700s by mid-2002, with 16 more arriving by 2005. The CRJ700s will gradually replace the airline's ageing fleet of Fokker F28s.