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July 20, 2024
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Based on data we are accumulating, the CSeries test program is accelerating.  The CS300 is expected is fly shortly, which will accelerate the test program.  If the program can maintain 165 hours per month, it seems the flight test might be completed in October.  Adding the CS300 to the test fleet could, potentially, shorten that.

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10 thoughts on “CSeries Flight Test Update

  1. If the flight test is indeed completed in October, when would you expect the CSeries to be certified and enter into service?

  2. A350 completed flight testing August 13, was certified by European authorities August 30, and US authorities Nov 13, and was delivered to Qatar Dec. 22. I don’t know of a reason to expect the CSeries to go significantly faster.

    Regarding flight testing, it seems to me there’s two competing factors that get minimal discussion.

    First, the discussion always revolves around Bombardier’s statement long ago that testing would involve about 2400 flight hours. However, with the slow initial progress strongly suggesting there were some issues to be worked out, it seems to me Bombardier probably needed to repeat some tests, or might not have checked off as many test objectives per flight hour early on, so the total sum could potentially be several hundred hours more than originally planned.

    Second, flight test hours tend to accrue very fast as the program matures. High risk or complex tests that keep flights short get checked off and the average flight duration grows. Using AirInsight’s figures, it looks like while the A350 program averaged 175 hours per month at a comparable stage in its testing, it’s peak month was around 280 hours. I won’t lay money on it, but October may be quite realistic, even if they have to fly some extra hours.

  3. I agree with you that October is a realistic date, but only if there are no technical issues like we have seen last year. We will have a better idea when all flight test vehicles are flying. FTV5 was supposed to start flying before the end of 2014. Same thing for FTV7. (FTV6 will never fly as it is used strictly for fatigue testing, which is carried out on the ground). FTV8 will be the last flight test vehicle. My understanding is that FTV7 and FTV8 are not required to certify the CS100, but FTV1/2/3/4/5 are required, along with FTV7/8, to certify the CS300.

    In eight months from now we will be in October. The way things are going this means the contribution of FTV5 will probably be not much more than six months. On the other hand I expect this particular aircraft to log many hours in a relatively short period of time as it will tour the world to visit customers and exhibitions.

    @ Addison Schonland: How long should it take for the CSeries to enter service once flight testing in completed and certification is obtained? This question includes two more: 1. Is there an expected standard delay between the end of the flight test programme and certification? 2. Is there an expected standard delay between certification and EIS?

    Thank you for the updates and follow-ups.

  4. One reason the remainder of the CSeries certification program could go faster than that for the A350 is CIASTA, Bombardier’s unique Completed Integrated Systems Test Area; and also, to an extent, Bombardier’s Engineering Flight-Test Simulator. To all intents and purposes, CIASTA is an actual, complete additional CSeries aircraft in the certification-testing program, except that it doesn’t fly because it is a complete, separated-out lay-out of all of the aircraft’s systems; and company has used the Engineering Flight-test Simulator to demonstrate and verify each new iteration of the flight-control software before installing it in a real aircraft.

    Through Rob Dewar, Sébastien Mullot and other senior CSeries program executives, Bombardier has always said that, by using CIASTA, it was able to achieve quite a lot of pre-testing of the aircraft’s systems before flight-testing actually began, so flight-testing has produced few if any surprises as regards the aircraft’s systems. Bombardier has also used CIASTA in concert with the Engineering Simulator to pre-test and fine-tune each latest edition of the CSeries flight-control software.

    Mullot has said several times (including to me, personally, when I interviewed him on THE SAME DAY as the PW1000G engine had the uncontained failure in May 2014 (I interviewed him about two hours before the incident happened), that Bombardier strongly hopes it will obtain a certain amount of certification-time credit from Transport Canada for all of the certification work it has actually been able to achieve with CIASTA rather than needing to do all the work for the first time actually in flight tests. Certification work with CIASTA continues along in parallel with the flight-testing of the five CS100s and two CS300s that Bombardier will use in the flight-test certification program and so CIASTA actually represents an eighth, unconsidered aircraft in many ways when calculating certification hours performed.

    Another aspect of this unique capability is that, having been able to test systems functioning with CIASTA beforehand, Bombardier has said it was able to achieve much more in the way of achieving certification tasks in each early certification flight than it had been with any previous aircraft design, because the performance characteristics of the aircraft and of its systems in flight-testing merely confirmed what Bombardier already knew from CIASTA. Mullot told me Bombardier had needed to perform many flight-test exercises only once in order to be able to prove basic CSeries characteristics for certification purposes; normally a manufacturer would repeat each exercise several times in order to verify the characteristic.

  5. I know I’m firing from left field but I can’t dismiss that ridiculous post I once read that the program was cursed by a wrongfully dismissed employee. I’m stunned as to why such an innovative game changing product isn’t flying off the shelves as expected. I’ve read all the educated reasons then why is Airbus and Boeing crushing BBD with their products? The same rules should apply to them also. The world spins in a mysterious direction.

  6. At the beginning of the programme I was expecting a lot from CIASTA and the EFTS, and for the same reasons you have so aptly described. And indeed from what Mullot told you it appears that the strategy is working very well. But on the other hand the CSeries, like all modern aircraft, relies on software as much as hardware. So even though most of the hardware can be tested in CIASTA, and even in the EFTS which uses the same black boxes as the actual aircraft, a lot of the certification process depends of the software status. And that is one area where CIASTA and the EFTS are very vulnerable because like the aircraft they operate with software and this portion cannot be certified if it is not up to date. So if there is a delay with the software, hardware testing can continue in CIASTA and to a lesser extent in the EFTS, but software testing comes to a standstill until it is further developed or upgraded.

  7. You can pass the fine toothed comb over this one a thousand times looking for reasons for the program’s tardiness but never underestimate incompetence. It is often at the root of the problem.

  8. That is possible, but only if there is a major technical glitch like we have seen last year. For if everything goes well from here, flight testing should be completed by next Fall. If that is indeed the case then we can reasonably expect certification by the end of 2015, with EIS at the beginning of 2016, or some time in the Spring. First half of 2016 would be in my opinion a safe bet for EIS. Despite all the problems BBD has been facing so far I don’t see at this time why EIS would only come in “mid to late 2016”. Good or bad, this sounds more like a guess than a prediction based on known facts.

  9. The reason I made that comment is although the circumstances are not similar, I’m thinking of the Dornier 728. A magnificent highly touted aircraft for its time and the program was put up for sale. BBD , Embraer, Sukoi all had interest in buying it at the time but it ultimately saw the scrap yard. Could the Cseries see a similar fate? That would be a shame if not a sin. Sometimes the best product doesn’t guarantee success.

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