Bombardier today announced that the CSeries engine modifications have been approved by Transport Canada, been re-delivered by Pratt & Whitney, and installed on FTV2, which means an imminent return to flight testing. From what we hear, that could occur this Sunday or early next week, depending on weather. An update with Rob Dewar from Bombardier and Graham Webb from Pratt & Whitney can be found here. FTV2, FTV4, FTV3 and FTV1 will be the sequence for return to flight testing. Ground testing runs are already underway this morning, and while Bombardier PR has indicated sometime in September for the return to flight testing, we expect it to take place very quickly, as early as Sunday, weather permitting at Mirabel.
In the meantime, FTV1, which experienced the engine incident in May, has now been repaired, as shown in the photo below taken during the repair process. The damage to the carbon fiber wing enabled the team from Belfast to test their repair processes and gain valuable experience prior to the aircraft entering service.
We fully expect the CSeries to be back flying shortly, and at an accelerated rate once all four aircraft resume flying. To meet the goal of 2,400 hours on time, in June, 2014, the fleet will need to fly about 2,100 additional hours. With 4 test airplanes, that equals 525 hours per airplane from September to June, or 52 hours per aircraft per month, or about 1.75 hours per day on average. That level of flying should be achievable for the flight test program, especially when longer-range testing begins to build additional hours later in the program. Let’s hope that, unlike after the first flight on September 16, 2013, that the intensity of flight testing ramps up quickly after Sunday’s planned resumption of test flights.