We just got updated data. Bombardier’s flight tests have started to move more aggressively. Last month appears to have delivered about 220 hours which is over the planned number and likely is a sign of growing confidence in its test fleet.
With two aircraft planned to fly to Paris in the next two weeks, the flight tests have surely taken a more focused view on long haul flights. We understand both models have the range to reach Paris non-stop which is impressive for a relatively small aircraft. For example the A318 needs a tech stop going west from London to JFK even with a light load. The A319 from Halifax to the UK is seasonal. The Boeing NGs have a fabulous wing and easily fly across the Atlantic. Rumor has it the CS wing has turned out to be surprisingly good and both aircraft may have better payload/ranges than expected.
As of month end, we estimate the CSeries flight test is just over 73% of target hours. We don’t know yet how many credit hours Transport Canada will give the program for its CIASTA testing. Whatever hours they get only adds to the goal. Bombardier cannot make up the lost time but it looks like they are trying hard to stay on the revised schedule. Next stop Paris, where interest in the CSeries is going to be big.
Bombardier confirmed to me at least three years ago that the CS100 would be able to operate non-stop from London City Airport to New York westbound with up to 38 Business Class passengers onboard, which in fact is part of what CS100 customer Odyssey International is understood to want to do with the aircraft. The CS300 won’t be able to do LCY-NYC non-stop but it should have nice U.S. transcon range, I think. Given the CS100’s LCY-NYC non-stop capability (I think ORY, CDG, BRU, AMS, OSL, SVG and ARN could well fall into the non-stop capability to the Northeastern U.S. as well), it will be interesting to see if carriers such as AC, BA, SK, AF, KL and SN ever become interested in the thought of CS100 all-Business Class operations across the Atlantic.
Since the first customer does not want the plane before May 2016 there is no rush to bring the aircraft to certification. So I don’t expect to see an accelerated tempo in the coming weeks. My impression is that Bombardier is taking it easy now. There are no incentives at this stage to work late at night and on the weekend, unless you have very high responsibilities. I imagine BBD would want to save as much money as possible and would therefore minimize overtime. The way things are going right now, after certification the aircraft will sit idle for six months before it will be delivered to the first customer. This is not good for the cash flow but it will allow personnel at Bombardier and Swiss to take it a little easier than a fast introduction would have permitted.
Yes, but what Bombardier promised three years ago and what will be delivered in 2016 is a little different. It looks like BBD under-promised this time. Like Addison I expect the aircraft to have better range than was originally announced in 2008. This is very important because it could mean the CS-500 would be able to be designed around the existing wing, with minimal development cost.
It’s true that the late introduction by Swiss eases time pressure on the certification program. On the other hand, Swiss will take a number of planes and there are other customers. This means that Bombardier will have to put emphasis on production at a viable rate. This will put pressure on the company’s working capital. It’s a good thing BBD has already taken care of financing the cash flow needed to complete certification and start production.
Who will be the second carrier to take delivery of its CSeries?
“Bombardier will have to put emphasis on production at a viable rate. This will put pressure on the company’s working capital.”
True, but the sooner the airplanes are delivered the faster the money will start to come in. It works both ways; until the average production cost no longer exceeds the selling price for each frame. That is when the programme will become cash flow positive. Also, the long delay will give Bombardier more time to ramp-up production. Actually I expect to see a number of White Tails at the start of 2016, and this situation should last until late Spring. Bombardier cannot stop producing those airplanes simply because the customer cannot take delivery. This potential excess inventory would allow BBD to more easily manage the backlog. That is just speculation on my part though, and I could be wrong. Another possibility is that the employees will be laid-off temporarily like in the case of the Globals. Of course this would save a bit of money, but in the end it might be less efficient overall.
Normand, do you have an idea about the second carrier to take delivery of the CSeries?
White tails with hundred of firm orders? But yes, it seems unavoidable if there is ongoing production and the first deliveries is only in May 2016. The CSeries is years late, but no one is hurrying to take delivery.
I don’t really know who the second carrier might be, but it is still possible, although very unlikely, that a second carrier might want to take delivery earlier that originally planned. Or perhaps a new buyer could jump in unexpectedly, ready to take delivery earlier than anybody else. But those things take time because of training requirements and logistic problems. It’s a huge complication, and not only for Bombardier but for the operators as well. I also believe Bombardier might prefer to have Swiss, backed by the technically very experienced and sophisticated Lufthansa, to ensure a smooth entry into service. We still have one year to go and a lot of things could happen in this long interval. Since the new CEO appears to be a man of action demanding quick results we can expect even the unexpected. And there seems to be a convergence of new brain power at Bombardier that could foil the most astute and experienced observers and aviation experts.
LCY’s short runway doesn’t allow the A318 to take on a full load of fuel hence the stop in Shannon for top up.
From 13 May article: “In a video update shown to reporters at the RAA convention, CSeries program GM Rob Dewar said Bombardier has completed over 70% of CS100 certification tests. Overall, the CSeries flight test program has totaled more than 1,600 hours. ” https://canadianaviationnews.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/bombardier-paris-air-show-to-be-a-big-step-in-cseries-sales-effort/
If 1600 hrs = 70% then the total required for certification = 2286. That means they received about 114 hrs credit for the simulator testing(2400 – 2286). By that logic with their current total of 1800 hrs, they are about 79% complete with 486 hrs yet to go. At 220 hrs per month, they could be ready for certification by the beginning of August. Just because they complete the hours I would imagine Transport Canada will need some time to do the paperwork but how long will that take?
I wonder if it is FTV5 going to Paris or P1? They said it is painted in the Swiss Air colours which would be what P1 would be painted. They had said P1 has been completed and ready to join the flight program. Interesting times.
Once again the Cseries groupies at batting hard with high hopes. BBD execs bat hard with strategy and answers to all questions. I see EIS May 2016…always have… If all goes well.
Simon, you can repeat over and over again that EIS will be in May 2016 (like I do) but if you don’t explain your position it’s pointless. If this is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, this means we have another 12 months to go. Like Trooper has pointed out flight testing could be over by the end of the summer. So what do you suggest is going to happen between the end of FT and EIS? It will be more productive if you attack the problem instead of mocking the posters. But perhaps you don’t have any ammunition left.
Swiss Air was the first order for 30 CS100s. Lease Corporation International placed the second order for 3 CS100s and 17 CS300s. The third customer was Republic Airways Holdings for 40 CS 300s. Some doubt that this order will go through but so far it stands. Next there are some small orders: Braathens Leasing Ltd.(5 CS100s/5 CS300s), Odyssey Airlines (10 CS100s), and Gulf Air (10 CS 100s).
You seem to assume that certification testing was done on every flight. You can’t conduct a certification test until you have the correct configuration hardware and software. The initial flight testing was developmental flight testing, to expand the flight envelope and to determine what hardware and software design changes were necessary. Certification testing didn’t start until those design changes were made.
There is nothing magic about 2400 hours. They need to successfully complete all the certification testing, which may make less than 2400 total flight hours, or more than 2400 hours. Then they need to finish all the analysis of the tests, write the reports, and get them reviewed and accepted by Transport Canada, the FAA and EASA. That final stage could easily take a month or two, after all the certification testing has been completed.
Kevin, taking into account the analysis, the reports and the acceptance, when would you expect certification to be obtained?
I’ll keep my estimates to myself, to avoid a cap in hand meeting with my boss.
An operator requires many things over and above type certification to enter operational service. They need an approved flight simulator, approved training programs, and trained flight and maintenance crews. They need an approved Master Minimum Equipment List, then they need to develop their own Minimum Equipment List, and get it approved. They need an approved company Operating Manual for the aircraft type in question. They may need to do route proving. Etc. Etc.
Sometimes the configuration that receives initial type certification may be missing some of the approved functionality that the operator requires, in which case their EIS will be delayed pending follow-on certification of another configuration with additional functionality.
A manufacturer that regularly pushes out new airliner models, and has significant personnel resources might have much of this work done concurrently with the type certification program, and the operator might enter service within a month of issuance of the type certificate. A manufacturer with less experience cranking out new airliner models, or with less manpower available, might take somewhat longer.
The company seemed to make it very clear that they had completed 70% of the flights required for certification including the dicey ones like icing, stall and flutter.
I don’t see the value for a company like Bombardier to hold back this kind of information. Because of a lack of reliable information we have no choice but to speculate, and therefore we can sometime be way off the mark. The consequence of this is that rumours and false information circulate around the Web and can do more damage to a corporation than if they had chosen in the beginning to properly inform us. It appears to me that most large corporations have not yet adjusted their communication policies to the reality of the Web. I can understand that some information have to be kept secret because they carry strategic value. But on the other hand for a certain type of information it might be in the interest of a company to occasionally leak non-strategic information. Of course it’s up to them to determine what can be told and what has to remain secret. But it looks like they don’t even bother to make that choice and therefore everything is a big secret. The CSeries is a remarkable technical success and Bombardier should make this better known to the outside world instead of wrapping themselves in mystery.
Here is what Aviation Week had to say about this in a recent article.
AW: The CSeries is 70% through certification and 56% though flight test, Cromer says, with the 110-seat CS100 on track for certification by year-end and the 135-seat CS300 six months later.
I queried the author as to what it meant exactly and here is what Graham Warwick replied to me:
AW: Certification is more than flight testing. It includes ground testing. Manufacturers conduct tests to gain credit toward certification. Some of these are done in flight, some on the ground. When the CSeries was grounded by the engine failure, Bombardier continued ground tests “for credit”. So it is 70% of the way through “ticking the boxes” for certification, although it still has a lot of flying to do.
The way I interpret this is that flight testing is a little more than halfway through. On the other hand more than two third of the requirements for certification has been met if we include the credits from CIASTA. What I don’t know is when the other 44% of flight testing will be completed and to what month it will take us. A safe bet would be October, November or December. But there is no rush anyway because the first customer will not be ready to take delivery of the first aircraft until a few months after that. So the gap between Certification and EIS could be less than three months or more than six. I don’t have enough information to figure it out more accurately than this.