MIAMI — Bombardier announced the first flight of the CSeries, originally due “by the end of June” has been rescheduled to the “end of July”. The company announced that ground vibration tests, as well as software upgrades and additional tests have been completed on Flight Test Vehicle 1. Bombardier earlier in the week applied for a Flight Test Permit for FTV-1 with Transport Canada.
The first flight of the C Series was originally scheduled to occur before the end of 2012, but was delayed in late last year to the end of June. The aircraft was rolled out from the Mirabel plant on March 7, 2013.
Bombardier had said throughout the Paris Air Show last week that the CSeries was still on track to meet its first flight by June 30th deadline. Weather for Friday, however in Montreal looked marginal leaving only Saturday and Sunday to meet the deadline.
Ground vibration tests and other software upgrades have been completed. FTV-1 must still complete a battery of additional power tests of the onboard systems. The prototype will then begin a series of low- and high-speed taxi tests, including rejected take-offs.
The CSeries emerged from the paint shop just in early June and was handed over to the flight test department further adding to first flight momentum. Scott Deveau, @scottdeveau, of Canada’s “Financial Post” reports that Tuesday morning the flight test team met with management requesting software upgrades reportedly for the fly-by-wire system. This rippled the other tests in the program, causing the delay.
Though Bombardier has booked orders and commitments for 388 CSeries, including 177 firm orders, the just announced launch of Embraer’s 2nd generation E-Jets has added competitive pressure. The E2 is not due to enter service until 2018, while the CSeries is still on track for E-I-S sometime in 3rd quarter 2014 following a 5 aircraft test program.
The first actual operator is unconfirmed however. The E2 series attracted firm orders, purchase rights, options, and letters of intent totaling 350 customers including a firm order for 100 aircraft from Sky West with options for another 100. The first first flight of the CSeries is seen as not only symbolic, but critical to jump start firm orders, as no new orders were announced at the Paris Air Show last week. There is no word on whether the E-I-S date will slide.
When the first flight happens, Airchive will cover the CSeries First Flight LIVE via Twitter, FB, & our Blog. In the meantime, we will continue updating details as we receive them.