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CSeries past midway point of test programme

The CSeries programme has passed the midway point of the test programme with four to 10 months remaining before a scheduled entry into service, Bombardier’s top salesman says.

Four CS100s and one CS300 now in flight test have accumulated more than 1,100 flight test hours, says Ross Mitchell, Bombardier’s vice-president of business acquisition, on 9 March at the ISTAT conference.

“We are most of the way through the programme,” Mitchell says.

The flight test hours have been accumulating rapidly since the test fleet returned in September from a 100-day hiatus caused by an engine malfunction.

At the time of the 29 May grounding, the test fleet had amassed about 300 flight test hours after eight months of testing.

In the six months since return to flight, the five test aircraft have completed at least 800 test hours.

Bombardier originally said the CS100 certification programme would consume about 2,400 flight test hours. Last month, Bombardier executives said that number was only a guideline rather than a specific target.

That estimate of 2,400 flight test hours includes a percentage that will be completed on a ground-based simulator, Mitchell says. Bombardier has commissioned the integrated systems and test certification rig (ISTCR) in Mirabel, Canada, to gain credit with Transport Canada for a certain number of flight test hours. By including the credit from the simulations, the CSeries test programme is now past the midway point, Mitchell says.

Moreover, the tests completed so far are more likely to have raised issues that could cause further delays, he says.

The entry into service in the second half of 2015 represents a delay of about two years compared to Bombardier’s original schedule.

Despite that delay, the aircraft design appears to be performing successfully in flight tests so far, Mitchell says. The company’s original performance targets – including a 15% reduction in specific fuel consumption and nearly 3,000nm range – are being met based on testing results, he says.

“We are going to meet everything we said. We’re got to hit the range targets. We’re going to hit the payload/range targets. We are going to give you the cost we said we would,” Mitchell says. “We are going to save airlines a lot of money when they get this airplane. We may not be on time but we made a promise and we’re keeping it.”

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