Saturday, September 14, 2013

CSeries first flight set for Monday with Live Streaming Video


~  Hat tip to Rob "Biz Jets" ~

MONTREAL — The CSeries will fly on Monday — barring rain or a technical glitch.
Bombardier Inc. said the long-awaited event would finally go ahead “pending optimal weather conditions and aircraft readiness.”

Five years after Bombardier Inc. launched the airliner program at the Farnborough air show in 2008, the CSeries’ first model, the 110-seat CS100, is now scheduled to perform its much-anticipated maiden flight at Mirabel on Monday morning in front of about 3,000 people.

But the weather remains a question mark. Bombardier has been waiting for sunny and dry weather, and there is a forecast 60-per-cent chance of showers on Monday. It appeared at one point the weekend would hold a two-day respite from the mercurial weather of the past week, raising the possibility the flight would be held on Sunday. Clement weather is a key element as the company wants a dry runway to test some metrics — and the wow factor for employees, airline customers and VIPs in attendance.

Bombardier Aerospace spokesperson Marc Duchesne said “we need nice weather” for the event, but would not say whether the flight would be scrubbed if it rains.

He said the exact time of the flight would be confirmed on Sunday, but its duration would be known only at landing. The airliner, which is just starting its year-long — and maybe more — flight-test program, will be followed throughout the flight by a chase plane, a Bombardier Global 5000. The high-end corporate jet will carry cameras and other unspecified equipment for various measurements.
Bombardier’s top executives will attend “if they’re in Montreal that day,” Duchesne said.

The first flight of the CSeries — the name originally stood for “competitive continental connector” — will be over Quebec territory only after Transport Canada issued the test aircraft its licence to fly on Aug. 30.

ICAR, a Bombardier neighbour in Mirabel, is charging the public $20 per car to attend the event “only metres from the runway.”

Duchesne said “unfortunately, we can’t accommodate the general public,” but invited those interested to watch a live webcast at or

Originally scheduled by the end of last year, the inaugural flight — if no snags crop up by Monday — will be 8½ months late.

Aerospace consultants say the delay, although embarrassing for Bombardier, is within the norm for such a project. The CSeries is Bombardier’s most ambitious — and risky — aircraft program in its 27-year history after it acquired Canadair in 1986 for $200 million. It’s the first so-called “clean-sheet design” — a brand new aircraft rather than modelled on an existing platform — single-aisle airplane in 26 years since the Airbus A320 first flew in 1987. It will feature wing-mounted engines, a first for any Bombardier jet.

The arrival of the CSeries heralds a significant shift in the world’s aircraft pecking order. It will start to engage the market addressed by the world’s two major aircraft-makers — Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS — shaking up the duopoly the two manufacturers have shared for more than four decades. The most recent aircraft-development programs for both firms incurred huge delays. Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner was nearly four years late, and is still having teething problems with its lithium ion batteries, while Airbus posted numerous time delays and cost overruns for its A380 double-decker, A350 and A440 military transport. The A350’s first flight came only at the Paris air show in June.

Montreal-based Bombardier has invited executives from the nine airlines that have bought the airplane, and many of the thousands of employees who have worked since 2008 designing, defining and assembling the aircraft.

Bombardier calls the CSeries a game-changer for several reasons: it is powered by a new-technology geared turbofan engine that was designed specifically for the CSeries by Pratt & Whitney, which also developed variants for larger aircraft; it features advanced materials, including carbon composites and lighter metals; together — but mostly because of the engine — these features are designed to cut fuel consumption by 20 per cent, noise by 40 per cent and total operating costs for airlines by 15 per cent. The aircraft’s expected better economy is a critical selling point for Bombardier, but airlines have been slow to take the bait. Bombardier has snagged 177 firm orders in five years, as well as 288 less firm commitments.

Aviation watchers, though, say the first flight is a milestone that spurs airlines to get serious about buying a new aircraft. The earlier an airline buys, the greater the discounts and other incentives, but as the drawing-board “paper airplane” becomes real after the inaugural flight, Bombardier will start charging more for the CSeries in stages as the test-flight program keeps ticking items off the to-do checklist.

Air Canada, in fact, could announce this year or next that it will buy CSeries aircraft as it starts replacing its 100-plane narrow-body fleet.

Original Article: