Graham Warwick/ATLANTA ASSEMBLY OF THE first Global Express long-range business jet has begun at Bombardier's partner companies. The forward fuselage, produced by Shorts in the UK, has been joined to Canadair's cockpit section at the Canadian company's Montreal plant, while preliminary mating of the wing and centre fuselage has taken place at Mitsubishi in Nagoya, Japan. The aircraft "...is coming together well", says Bombardier Aerospace Group engineering vice-president John Holding. "Little or no shimming" will be required to align the wing and fuselage, while cycling of the main gear at Mitsubishi revealed only minor interferences, he says, adding: "We are seeing the benefit of CATIA [a computer-aided design program]." The wing and centre fuselage will be airlifted by Antonov An-124 to the final-assembly site at de Havilland in Toronto in late January. Assembly of the rear fuselage is "well on the way" at de Havilland, Holding says, while the composite horizontal stabiliser is on schedule to arrive from Shorts in mid-February. Bombardier's Global Express systems rig is due to be run by mid-February, to ground-test hydraulics, electrics, flight controls and landing gear. Avionics will be integrated with the rig later, Holding says, noting that Honeywell began testing its Primus 2000XP avionics suite in late 1995. Test rigs are also coming on line at supplier partners which have responsibility for complete systems, such as Lucas Aerospace for the electrical system, ABG-Semca for the environmental-control system and Parker-Bertea for the fuel system, Holding says. BMW Rolls-Royce is expected to deliver BR710 flight-test engines by the end of March. The first flight is on schedule for September, according to Holding.