PW re-delivering GTF to Bombardier CSeries flight test fleet, airborne program likely next month

Pratt & Whitney has completed a design repair for the Pure Power 1500G used on the Bombardier CSeries Flight Test Vehicles (FTVs) and is re-delivering the engines, Leeham News has learned.

Flight tests are expected to resume in September, likely the first half, according to sources close to the situation. BBD will only say flight tests will resume “in the coming weeks.”

A PW spokesman was equally ambiguous. “We continue to work closely with Bombardier to return the CSeries to flight testing,” the spokesman wrote in an email. “I would also note that the fundamental architecture of the Geared Turbofan engine remains sound.”

The FTVs have been grounded since May 29, when a PW engine on FTV 1 suffered a failure in an oil seal, causing a fire and spewing engine parts into the composite wing of the airplane. The wing is undergoing repairs.

Details of the fix for the FTV engines have not been revealed. But one person familiar with the situation told us that the FTV engine repairs enable the test fleet to return to the air, and that the redesign of the affected area of the engine will be incorporated into a production redesign before the CSeries enters service. Bombardier continues to maintain that the CS100, the first of the two-member family scheduled to enter service, will do so in the second half of 2015. Some aerospace analysts believe BBD will be hard-pressed to meet this schedule, and EIS will slip into early 2016. The larger CS300 was scheduled to enter service six months after the CS100, and it’s unclear if this EIS will continue to have a six month gap.

Bombardier is preparing to resume the flight test program with the four FTVs that have been completed; three more are in assembly.

The Pure Power 1100G for the Airbus A320neo, scheduled to enter service in October next year, will incorporate the production redesign, says the source familiar with the situation. No delay is expected in this program.

9 Comments on “PW re-delivering GTF to Bombardier CSeries flight test fleet, airborne program likely next month

  1. I do hope that Bombardier and P&W can succeed with this jet, along with Embraer with the E2 series. Serious competition at the low end of the narrowbody mainliner range will force Boeing and Airbus to pull out the stops on their next gen narrowbody designs

    • I think both Airbus and Boeing will simply avoid significant size overlap with the CSeries. Looking at the pathetic sales numbers for the A319neo and 737-7 (barely 50 each) and the significant number of A321 and (slightly less so) 737-9, it seems that the airlines and manufacturers will be looking to move the next generation of single-aisle planes ‘up a notch’ to include a size above the current A321/737-900.

      • It will be very interesting to watch. Is that market segment stable with airframes of better economy or will it just delay the effect of everybody upsizing their fleets?

  2. It doesn’t stop Airbus from wanting to kill the C series.

    I still am appalled that whatever the problem was (oil seal and oil loss obviously) but why it blew up and broke containment ?

    At this stage of the engine development that should not occur.

    Me thinks P&W has good tech ideas but is way behind RR and GE in implementation and quality material and design. Major issues on the F35 engine as well.

    Air Force can’t wait for the next gen engine GE is working on so they can dump P&W.

    It does raise a serious question as to how capable the engine is, not the tech but how P&W manages it and how reliable it will be. Great fuel efficiency with an engine that breaks down is a serious issue and P&W does not seem to be able to do that (maybe their partners can rescue them)

  3. Thanks, lowers the techcnial concern, will be interesting to get all the details if they come out.

  4. Why are the analysts doubtful of a second half 2015 EIS? Do they know of other problems or have they just assumed there will be?
    Granted I could see where there might be doubt but if, and that is the big criteria, if they have everything sorted now, I believe that the EIS that Bombardier is forecasting is well within reach.

    • Analysts have good reasons to be doubtful. Bombardier Aerospace is in turmoil right now and is undergoing a complete restructuring. This creates instabilities and uncertainties. Add to this the fact that FTV1 is out of commission due to extensive damage sustained during an uncontained engine explosion.

      My understanding is that this aircraft will have to be rebuilt because it is not economically repairable. This leaves only four flight test vehicles instead of five. It will certainly impact the flight testing schedule. And since everything revolves around that we can expect further delays down the line.

      That is not counting the issues with the flight controls software (FBW). And of course the engine itself. It’s taking an awfully long time to fix a simple “oil seal’ problem, don’t you think?! 🙁

  5. Pingback: Focus on Bombardier after more executive changes | Leeham News and Comment

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