Bombardier’s innovative CS100 jetliner has successfully performed its maiden flight, introducing the first new commercial aircraft in the category in decades.
After touching down on a test runway at Bombardier’s plant in Mirabel, Quebec, Bombardier’s test pilot Chuck Ellis spoke to the gathered media, commenting on the two-and-a-half hour long maiden flight. "It flew very well. It's a very, very nice airplane," he said about the medium-haul jet made of light-composite materials.
However, he admitted an alert had gone off during the flight for one of the aircraft’s sub-systems. Details of the incident have not been specified.
According to Ellis, the ‘advisory message’ did not affect the plane and would not have required the pilot to land even if the plane had commercial passengers aboard.
The spectators mostly commented on the aircraft’s exceptionally quite performance.
"You could hardly hear the take-off," said Martin Gauss, chief executive officer of Latvian carrier AirBaltic, which has ordered 10 of the larger CS300 planes, which seat 130 passengers.
"This was one of the reasons why we bought it, along with the cost savings from lower fuel burn," he said after watching the take-off from a spot near the runway.
Bombardier believes the CSeries, available in two configurations – for 100 and 135 passengers, will become the quietest jet in the market. Apart from that, Bombardier says its plane will have a15 per cent cash operating cost advantage and 20 per cent fuel burn advantage over competing single-aisle jets.
The industry professionals will now closely observe how the aircraft’s innovative systems will perform in further testing. Of the greatest interest is the plane’s PurePower PW1500G turbofan engine made by Connecticut-based company Pratt & Whitney.
According to Bombardier’s Commercial Aircraft President Michele Arcamone, the development cost of the narrow-body twin-engine aircraft for some 100 to 150 passengers reached some $3.9 billion (£2.4bn), about $500 million more than originally estimated.
The new jet faces an ambitious, 12-month deadline to enter commercial service, and a tough sales competition from bigger rivals Airbus and Boeing.
Critics say the Canadian design for the medium-haul jet made of light-weight composite materials ignores a trend toward larger aircraft seating 150 people or more as air traffic expands and carriers offer more seats.