Monday, August 24, 2015

Bombardier launches CSeries production ramp-up

Bombardier has launched the CSeries production ramp-up with suppliers for the CS100 and CS300 aircraft after the former recently cleared a key milestone in certification testing, vice-president and general manager Rob Dewar confirms to Flightglobal.

The CS100 has passed the 80% completion milestone for certification testing, allowing Bombardier to move forward with the production ramp-up, Dewar says.

The company had slowed the production system to a crawl a year ago even as a new final assembly line opened in Mirabel, Canada. As delays extended the CSeries flight test programme by more than a year, Bombardier wanted to avoid building too many aircraft that would require extensive design changes after certification, Dewar says.

Since last August, only three aircraft have entered the new final assembly line. The second production-standard CS100 – internally dubbed P-2 – was assembled in parallel with the second CS300 flight test vehicle named FTV-8. The third production CS100, P-3, also recently entered final assembly.

The P-2 aircraft is now painted and nearing the end of final assembly, Dewar says. Swiss International Air Lines is the CSeries launch operator, but Bombardier does not identify which aircraft are assigned to each customer.

Dewar declined to answer Bombardier’s planned production ramp up in terms of monthly rates. In 2012, Bombardier officials talked about ramping up swiftly in three years to a rate of 10 aircraft deliveries per month, rivaling Boeing’s ramp to 10 787 deliveries per month within two years of first delivery.

But more recently a new Bombardier executive team has been more cautious, with chief executive Alain Bellemare saying the company plans instead to emphasize increasing the “learning curve” for the production system as quickly as possible.

The CS100 has now completed 82% of its certification tests, including receiving documentation approval from Transport Canada, the certification authority, Dewar says. As a larger derivative, the CS300 is following six months behind the CS100 in certification with about 40% of testing completed.

After completing a final round of hot weather testing in Mesa, Arizona, earlier this month, the test programme plans to complete communicating noise testing on the CS100 aircraft in a “week or so” from Oregon, Dewar says.

The next major series of tests will begin in the fall with the first production-standard CS100 aircraft named P-1. That aircraft will perform the function and reliability tests, compiling about 150h of flight time.

Bombardier plans to receive certification from Transport Canada by the end of the year and deliver the first aircraft to Swiss in 2016.

One operator has requested 120min extended operations for the CSeries, Dewar says, which is 30min longer than the certification standard. The 120min ETOPS capability is scheduled to be ready for delivery 12 months after type certification of the CS100, he says.

(Stephen Trimble - Flightglobal News)

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