I’m blogging from Mirabel airport, where we have just witnessed the first flight of the CSeries by Bombardier, the overall reaction of the crowd has focused on how quiet the aircraft is. With a crowd of about 3,000 in the bleachers watching, the CSeries seemed to sneak up on the crowd, who didn’t notice the airplane was even rolling until just before rotation, and marveled at how quiet the aircraft was in takeoff. The first test of the aircraft, its noise performance, was demonstrated on first flight, delighting the audience, which included a number of customers. Bob DeLuce, CEO of Porter Airlines, operating from Billy Bishop airport in downtown Toronto, said “the aircraft exceeded our expectations, and truly is a Whisperjet.”
The PW1500G engines may inadvertently be the star of the show, as other aspects of the CSeries are not as visible to the audience as the noise level. Clearly, the GTF is a game changer in terms of noise. And with that low noise level, the CS100 is a game changer for performance. With a tremendous amount of data already gathered from GTF flight tests, and now CSeries flight test, the economics of the aircraft should be confirmed within a few weeks of the flight test program. Expectations are that the aircraft will meet its economic performance goals of a 15% reduction in cash operating costs over existing competitors.
I had a chance to speak with Mike Arcamone, CEO of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, who indicated that the next step is about a 12 month flight test program. Flight test vehicle 2 is nearly ready to go, and within 5-6 weeks, Bombardier will announce the entry into service date for the airplane. They plan to be quite aggressive in their program, so it is possible we could see EIS by September 2014 if all goes well. With several prospective customers, as well as existing customers attending as VIPs at this event, the first demonstration went quite well.
The mood here in Mirabel is decidedly upbeat, as one element of the performance characteristics for the aircraft, its noise profile, left most of the audience shocked, especially considering that the CS100 was quieter than the Global 5000 chase plane, which itself is a pretty quite aircraft. The difference was remarkable.
Stay tuned for additional posts as we download some interviews of key customers and suppliers.