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Bombardier CSeries Aircraft, “Aircraft 0” Takes Virtual Flight
By Jim Douglas

August 28, 2012 - Bombardier Aerospace announced that the company is now conducting virtual flights with “Aircraft 0” the on-the-ground Integrated Systems Test and Certification Rig (ISTCR) for the CSeries aircraft.

The avionics, electrical, flight control fly-by-wire, hydraulic, landing gear and wiring systems are now all commissioned, and systems integration and communication have been successfully demonstrated.  

The development of the CSeries aircraft will now enter the intense ground testing phase that will build the necessary maturity for all systems and drive towards the flight test program. 

“Excitement in the development of our CSeries airliner builds weekly as the aircraft becomes more and more real,” said Rob Dewar, Vice President and General Manager, CSeries, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.  


“The commissioning of all the systems on ‘Aircraft 0’ was an important milestone that has allowed us to initiate the integrated ground test phase, and to conduct virtual flights. This approach, which involves testing a complete aircraft with all main systems and software fully configured at production standard, is new for our industry. It will allow us to extensively test systems design in order to mitigate risk and provide the necessary reliability prior to the first flight. The results thus far have been to our satisfaction and some have even exceeded our expectations.” 

The ISTCR is one of the multiple rigs housed at the company’s Complete Integrated Aircraft System Test Area (CIASTA) facility in Mirabel, Québec, 40 km north of Montréal. The successful commissioning of all the systems on “Aircraft 0” was supported by several key CSeries aircraft partners and suppliers, including CAE, Goodrich Actuation Systems, Hamilton Sundstrand, Honeywell, Liebherr-Aerospace, Parker Hannifin, Pratt & Whitney, Rockwell Collins and Fokker Elmo along with other structural and system suppliers that delivered all the required components. Representatives from these organizations are co-located in Mirabel to work with Bombardier on system testing and integration processes. 

In addition to the ISTCR, other rigs being used in the ground test phase are: the Engineering Flight Simulator (ESIM) being built by CAE and now in an advanced stage; 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 also being completed at Mirabel. 



 “‘Aircraft 0’ is operating in near-real conditions since it combines production-level systems and structural components, an aerodynamic loading system and a high-fidelity flight model. Our suppliers are with us every step of the way and we continue on our drive towards the CSeries aircraft’s entry-into-service in 2013,” added Mr. Dewar. 

Designed for the growing 100- to 149-seat market, the 100 per cent new CSeries aircraft family combines advanced materials, leading-edge technology and proven methods to meet commercial airline requirements in 2013 and beyond. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1500G engines, the CSeries aircraft family will offer a 15 per cent cash operating cost advantage and a 20 per cent fuel burn advantage. The CSeries aircraft’s clean-sheet design will permit the aircraft to achieve greatly reduced noise and emissions, as well as superior operational flexibility, exceptional airfield performance and a range of 2,950 nm. The CSeries aircraft will be up to 12,000 lbs lighter than other aircraft in the same seat category and will provide passengers with a best-in-class, widebody cabin environment in a single-aisle aircraft. 

Bombardier has booked orders and commitments for 352 CSeries aircraft. The order book includes firm orders for 138 CSeries airliners from Braathens Aviation (five CS100 and five CS300 aircraft), Deutsche Lufthansa AG (30 CS100 aircraft), Korean Air (10 CS300 aircraft), Lease Corporation International Group (17 CS300 and three CS100 aircraft), PrivatAir (five CS100 aircraft), Republic Airways (40 CS300 aircraft), an unidentified major network carrier (10 CS100 aircraft), an unidentified European customer (10 CS100 aircraft) and a well-established, unidentified airline (three CS100 aircraft). The CSeries aircraft program has also booked options for 124 aircraft and purchase rights for 10 aircraft from these customers.  

In addition, the CSeries aircraft program has also achieved a conditional order placed by an unidentified customer for five CS100 and 10 CS300 airliners, as well as three letters of intent: for up to 30 CSeries aircraft from Ilyushin Finance Co; for up to 15 CS300 aircraft from Atlasjet; and for up to 20 CS300 aircraft from airBaltic. 

The 13 customers that have joined the CSeries aircraft program nine with firm orders include major network carriers, national carriers, premium airlines serving city centre airports, a low-cost airline, leasing companies and a full service provider to airline partners.
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