Embraer has mapped out an 1,800h-long flight test programme and it is hoping that, with all six 170s to be airborne by mid-year, the delay in terms of actual flying time will be the equivalent of only one week.

The first two aircraft are dedicated to validating handling qualities, flutter and stall, while the second pair will be used and system testing. The final two aircraft will feature fully configured interiors for will be used for function and reliability testing and final certification.

The 170 Ironbird has already clocked up around 1,800h, while loads testing will now start in April and fatigue testing of a second airframe by mid-year. The first 70-seater is due to be delivered to launch customer Swiss by the end of the year, with the larger 175, 195 and 190 following in July and December 2004 and December 2005, respectively.

Source: Flight International