Assembly of the static test airframe for Bombardier’s all-new CSeries commercial aircraft is well underway at the company’s Experimental Test Facility in St-Laurent, Québec.
Bombardier Aerospace will use the CSeries static test airframe for the Complete Airframe Static Test (CAST), which is designed to demonstrate the static strength of the airframe and show compliance with certification requirements.
Additionally, the manufacturer reports that parts for the first Bombardier CSeries test flight vehicle (FTV1) are on site in Mirabel, Québec, the production site for the CSeries program. Major components for the FTV1 are nearing completion and are on schedule for arrival in late September.
“Every day brings a new development and it’s very exciting. Whether it’s the start of a new test, the results of a new test, or the arrival of a new production part, the team is very enthusiastic about all these milestones,” says Rob Dewar, vice president and general manager, CSeries for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
“The assembly of the test airframe is another significant development as we make headway in the intense ground testing phase before the CSeries aircraft’s flight test program,” says Dewar. “The fuselage sections in the test airframe are being joined and we’re looking forward to adding the wings and the empennage, and starting the stress tests.”
The test airframe − comprised of both metallic and composite structures − is being fitted and assembled in a test rig. The test rig consists of a superstructure of steel towers and trusses, as well as loading structures and loading actuators that will be used to apply loads to the test airframe.
To demonstrate static strength, Bombardier will apply a series of load cases – representing flight maneuvers, landing, take-off and other in-flight and on-ground conditions − to the free-floating, non-restrained, counter-balanced test airframe. For selected load cases, internal cabin pressure will also be applied when simulating in-flight conditions.
During testing, strain gauges will be used to measure and record up to 8,000 parameters at defined locations on the airframe,according to Bombardier. Data from the strain gauges will be monitored by Bombardier’s stress engineers, as well as by partners and suppliers that are involved in the development of structural components for the CSeries aircraft.
Bombardier is also now conducting virtual flights at Mirabel with “Aircraft 0” (pronounced “Aircraft Zero”) – the on-the-ground Integrated Systems Test and Certification Rig (ISTCR) for the CSeries.
The CSeries’ avionics, electrical, flight control, fly-by-wire, hydraulic, landing gear and wiring systems are all commissioned, and systems integration and communication have been successfully demonstrated, according to the manufacturer.
Other rigs being used during the ground test phase include the Engineering Flight Simulator (ESIM), designed and built by CAE Inc and now being installed at the Mirabel ground testing facility; the avionics Systems Integration Test Stand (SITS) and the Flight Controls Integration Lab (FCIL), which are already commissioned at Rockwell Collins’ and Parker Hannifin’s facilities, respectively; and the Interior and Environmental Control Systems (ECS) rig, which is being completed at Mirabel.
To date Bombardier has booked orders and commitments for 352 CSeries aircraft, including firm orders for 138 CSeries airliners. To date, Bombardier has been developing two versions of the CSeries: the 110-to-125-seat CS100 and the 126-to-149-seat CS300. Both have been equally popular with customers in terms of orders and commitments.
The 13 customers that have joined the CSeries aircraft program – nine with firm orders – include major network carriers, national carriers, premium airlines serving city-center airports, a low-cost airline, leasing companies and a full-service provider to airline partners.