CSeries takes to air for the first time; PW also conducting own tests with new GTF engine

Update: First flight touchdown at 12:24 EDT, 2 1/2 hours.

Original Post:

Bombardier’s multi-billion dollar gamble to leap from regional airliner manufacturer into the mainline arena took off this morning at about 9:54 AM EDT. The CSeries CS100 Flight Test Vehicle 1 took to the air in clear skies at Montreal Mirabel Airport.

BBD’s flight tests are scheduled to last 12 months. There will be five Flight Test Vehicles based on the 110-seat CS100. Two more FTVs, based on the 135-seat (two class) CS300 will join the program later.

The CS100 is planned to enter service 12 months after the first flight; the CS300 is planned to enter service six months after the CS100.

Bombardier will be testing and monitoring all flight characteristics, performance and systems parameters.

Engine maker Pratt & Whitney will be keenly watching the test flights and evaluating its new engine, the P1000G Pure Power Geared Turbo Fan. This is PW’s multi-billion dollar bet to become a major player again in commercial transports. The GTF has been in development nearly 30 years.

PW, of course, spent the last several years testing the GTF as the company narrowed in on the design that has now been chosen for five platforms: the CSeries, the A320neo family, the Mitsubishi MRJ regional jet, Embraer’s E-Jet E2 re-engine, and a shared position on the Irkut MC-21 from Russia.

PW promises fuel savings of up to 16% over today’s engines, a point better than the competing CFM LEAP. It promises reliability as good as its V2500 on the A320 family. PW undertook years of tests on the ground and flight tests on an Airbus A340 and a PW-owned Boeing 747SP, but flight tests on the CSeries-the first mating of the new engine to the first of the five platforms-will be closely scrutinized to see if performance validates all the tests.

Robert Saia, vice president of PW’s Next Generation Product Family, tells us that ground tests and PW’s Flying Test Bed (FTB) provided the data PW needed to make its promises for the engine. Validating this data on FTV 1 is only part of the engine side of the test program. Overall power capability, specific thrust requirements (notably for go-around situations and spool-up, or re-acceleration, time) will be run during the flight testing.

PW promises an engine that will enable the CSeries to have a 70% smaller noise footprint than its in-production competitors flying today, the Boeing 737-700 and Airbus A319. But this will be the first time the GTF is flown on the plane for which it was designed, so acoustical tests will be performed.

Proving the CSeries and the GTF are as quiet as promised is especially important to Bombardier. It’s sold the airplane to airlines serving noise-sensitive airports in London and Sweden. Canada’s Porter Airlines has a conditional order for up to 30 CS100s for use at Toronto’s downtown City Airport, where noise is an especially sensitive issue.

Acoustical tests don’t have to be performed at these airports, but may be done at any airport that has a certified, noise-calibrated system.

Another key element PW will be watching is the electric communication between the engine and the cockpit and validating maintenance troubleshooting guidelines that will be given to airlines, which must be compatible with the flight manual.

14 Comments on “CSeries takes to air for the first time; PW also conducting own tests with new GTF engine

  1. The first vid is on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmwvjrVwRvE

    The aircraft / engine that triggered Airbus to launch the NEO, triggering Boeing to can the NSA & do the MAX and Embraer to stretch, design a new wing & adopt the PW GTF too..

    A, B & keep playing it down but their action tell they surely believed the CSeries figures 😉

    Can’t judge form the video but the engines noise sounds ear friendly.

  2. It has been A = Airbus and B = Boeing. No longer. B1 for Boeing and B2 for Bombardier? Time will tell.

    Bienvenue Bombardier! Best wishes for high lift, low drag, short field lengths and ultra-high reliability. May you succeed beyond your wildest expectations!

  3. I will be interesting to measure if the noise difference between the NEO-GTF and NEO-LEAP is significant.

    If the SFC, noise profile and maintenance costs of the LEAPS stay clearly behind, which seems a real possibility, Safran-GE (CFM) and Boeing have a very serious issue.

    IMO it seems a real possibility because many of the LEAPX innovations (high temps, pressures, 3D turbine blades, carbon fan, advanced materials, can be introduced on the GTF over the years, with a little help from RR and MTU. Adding a gear to the LEAP means a new engine (lots of R&D, min. 5 yrs).

  4. The noise could be proportionally lower as the size and power of the engine increase. The reason for this is that the ratio of LP Turbine speed over Fan speed will more than likely increase from the 3 to 1 in the current 20K+ category to a larger figure like say 3.5 to 1, or even more. The ratio could possibly reach 4 to 1 in the 100K+ category. In short the technology is scalable and will bring the competition to its knees.

    Most manufacturers have now adopted the GTF engine. But among the major players the only one that has designed a new aircraft around it is Bombardier. The current thinking is that we need to wait for the next generation of engines (propfan et all) to design new aircraft like the Boeing NSA. But very few seem to realize that the future is already here and it’s called the GTF. There are no practical alternatives to this technology. Pratt & Whitney now has a twenty year lead over the competition.

    What I am saying was clearly demonstrated yesterday in Mirabel. A Swiss Airlines representative was attending the event and in an interview with a journalist he asked if anyone had heard the engine. What he meant was that no one really had heard it because it made little noise, and he added that it was the reason why his company had purchased this aircraft. Now that this feature of the GTF has been clearly demonstrated and has so evidently struck the imagination of the crowd you can be sure that other airlines will make it a top priority and the legislative authorities will have to raise the bar.

  5. “Engine maker Pratt & Whitney will be keenly watching the test flights and evaluating its new engine, the P1000G Pure Power Geared Turbo Fan. This is PW’s multi-billion dollar bet to become a major player again in commercial transports. The GTF has been in development nearly 30 years.”

    It is interesting to note that yesterday the Pratt & Whitney 747SP test bed was waiting, on another runway at Mirabel, for its clearance to take off almost simultaneously with the CSeries. The 747 actually took off about two minutes after the smaller aircraft, but on an adjacent runway. I thought this was symbolic. For if Bombardier is successful with the CSeries, so will be P&W with the GTF. It seems their respective destiny are tied together right now.

  6. Pingback: Odds and Ends: Next phase for CSeries; the C-17 | Leeham News and Comment

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