The first Bombardier CSeries jet has taken off for the first time.
At 9:53 a.m. on September 16, after a short take-off run, Bombardier CS100 C-FBCS ‒ named Flight Test Vehicle 1 (FTV1) by Bombardier Aerospace ‒ took off into a clear blue sky from Mirabel Airport some 30 miles north of Montreal.
FTV1’s first flight was preceded three minutes earlier by the take-off of a Bombardier Global 5000 business jet, which acted as the chase plane for the CS100 throughout its maiden flight.
Packed with instrumentation, communications equipment and video cameras, the Global 5000 would follow the CS100 closely throughout the new aircraft type’s first flight.
Instrumentation was also packed throughout the cabin of FTV1, in order to measure flight performance and parameters during the maiden flight and subsequent test flights.
A large crowd of Bombardier Aerospace employees, CSeries customers and media was on hand, seated in a specially constructed stand at Mirabel Airport, to watch the aircraft take off for its first flight and hear assembled dignitaries and senior executives of Bombardier and CSeries customer companies speak.
Almost all customer executives remarked how quiet the CS100 was during its take-off, one saying the Bombardier CSeries would provide “an environmental revolution” at airports worldwide.
The lack of taxiing and take-off noise is due to the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1521G geared turbofan engines which power the CS100. These engines feature a heavy-duty gear system between the engine’s low-pressure shaft and the large-diameter fan at the front of the engine which produces most of the engine’s thrust in the form of cold air which does not pass through the engine core.
Pratt & Whitney boasts its engine designs from the PW1000G geared-turbofan family are the quietest large turbofan engines ever, being so quiet when running at full thrust that they should help the CSeries and other aircraft types which they power to avoid completely the noise curfew restrictions in place at many major airports.
As CS100 FTV1 climbed away, the pilots did not retract the aircraft’s landing gear. This is normal procedure during a first flight as the pilots want to make sure the aircraft handles in stable fashion during low-speed flight.
FTV1’s first flight came some eight months later than originally planned. Bombardier had originally hoped to fly the first CSeries jet before the end of 2012, but logistics problems with suppliers pushed the first-flight date back.
Bombardier then planned to fly the aircraft in June 2013, but last-minute, unspecified issues with the aircraft’s software systems forced the manufacturer to delay the first flight by approximately another two months. Once these problems were resolved, Bombardier then performed the necessary initial low- and high-speed taxi testing of FTV1 prior to its first flight.
The CSeries is the first commercial aircraft type to feature all-carbon fiber composite wings, though its fuselage is made from an advanced lithium-aluminum metal alloy material.