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Weight reduction cited for Global 7000 wing redesign

Bombardier launched a costly redesign of the Global 7000 wing in 2015 to reduce the structural weight and not to alter its aerodynamic profile, chief executive Alain Bellemare has disclosed.

In July 2015, Bombardier blamed the wing redesign for a two-year delay to entry-into-service of the ultra-long-range, high speed rival to the Gulfstream G650ER.

The design change eventually triggered a legal dispute with wing supplier Triumph Aerostructures, which filed a lawsuit in early January claiming that Bombardier owes the company money for the extra work and tooling costs associated with the redesign.

Until now, Bombardier has never disclosed the reason for the wing redesign, leading at least one analyst to assume in a question posed on a 16 February earnings call that the shape of the new wing will be changed.

But Bellemare corrected the analyst, saying “there’s not much change” to the aerodynamic profile.

“It’s just a lighter wing,” Bellemare says.

For its part, Bombardier disputes that Triumph’s claims for compensation due to the wing redesign. Meanwhile, Triumph is continuing to support the programme as the wing supplier for test and production aircraft.

The original, heavier wing was delivered in the first flight test vehicle of the Global 7000, which has accumulated 100 flight hours since November. The redesigned, lighter wing will be delivered later this year.

Bombardier plans to start flight testing the second Global 7000 before the second quarter begins in April, Bellemare says.

“The design of the wing is largely completed,” Bellemare says. “We’re in the final phase of making sure the lightweight wing, as we call it, is being finalised.”

Entry into service for the Global 7000 remains on track for the second half of 2018.

Though there may still be “hiccups” in development, Bellemare emphasised the maturity of the Global 7000 so far by comparing it to the first few months of flight testing the CS100 airline in late 2013. By comparison, the Global 7000 is “two to three times” more mature than the CS100 at this stage, he says.

The Global 7000 is based on the same fly-by-wire system architecture as the CSeries aircraft family, a subsystem the company blamed for many of the delays in the CSeries flight test programme.

“It shows we’ve been building on the lessons learned from the CSeries,” Bellemare says.

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