Bombardier's CSeries aircraft completed its maiden flight Monday, a key step in the Canadian airframe manufacturer's $3.4-billion program as it prepares to enter the commercial narrow body market for the first time.
(Bombardier's CS100 flight test vehicle takes off for its maiden flight. Photo, courtesy of Bombardier.)
The first flight of the all-composite CSeries lasted about 2.5 hours, taking off from Mirabel International Airport in Montreal. Flight test pilot Chuck Ellis said the first flight "went very well," upon emerging from the aircraft after landing. Ellis took the plane up to 12,500 feet, and reached a top air speed of 230 knots.
The CSeries is the largest jet ever built by Bombardier and had its first flight delayed by more than eight months as the company needed more time to validate the aircraft systems and software integration. Designed to carry up to 149 passengers, the CSeries will compete with the Airbus
737 and Embraer's re-engined E2 passenger jet which is scheduled to enter service in 2018.
Monday's flight featured the CS100, the smallest model of the CSeries family which also has a larger CS300 variant.
The CSeries flight test vehicles will now enter a year-long testing program. Bombardier engineers hope to collect data from testing that will live up to the company's promise to produce the "world's quietest aircraft," as it has marketed the CSeries. The aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1500 engines and features a 20 percent lower rate of fuel burn than existing rivals, according to Bombardier.
To date, 177 firm orders have been recorded for CSeries aircraft. Republic Airways is the launch customer for the CSeries, as the Indiana-based regional carrier plans on entering the narrow body jet into service next year.
Related: Bombardier CSeries Approved for First Flight