Bombardier's CSeries narrowbody plane took flight for the first time Monday, powered by two of Pratt & Whitney's latest geared turbofan engines.
In addition to the maiden flight of the single-aisle Bombardier jet, it was the first time the new Pratt engine had taken to the air as part of an aircraft certification program, Bombardier said in a written release. The fuel-efficient and quiet jet engine has been chosen by five aircraft manufacturers — Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer, Irkut, and Mitsubishi — for their next generation of narrowbody planes.
"We couldn't have wished for a better maiden flight," said Capt. Charles Ellis, who commanded the flight which took off early Monday at Québec's Mirabel International Airport near Montreal. The flight deck, Ellis said, was responsible and comfortable, and the plane "handles exactly as expected."
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The flight test vehicle one — painted in white with blue accents — reached an altitude of 12,500 feet and an air speed of 230 knots, Bombardier said. In flight, Ellis tested extensions of the flaps and the landing gear as well as the flight control system.
The aircraft completed the first flight after high-speed taxi tests last week and about 3,000 hours of ground and flight testing.
Rob Dewar, head of the CSeries program, said that after five years of development the "aircraft's first flight is the culmination of an incredible amount of hard work and dedication from our employees, partners and suppliers around the world."
He said the technology in the Pratt engine, which increases fuel efficiency by an estimated 20 percent while lowering noise by about 75 percent, "fits extremely well with the innovative aircraft that we are bringing to market." The design behind the advances is a gear system that allows a number of elements in the engine to spin at their optimal speeds, rather than all at the same speed.
Final assembly of the engine for Bombardier, known as the PW1500G, will occur at the company's factory in Mirabel, Québec.
"We congratulate Bombardier on the CSeries aircraft's historic first flight and we're proud to be powering the aircraft — the first 'next generation' and all-new airplane to enter the single-aisle market segment," said Dave Brantner, head of commercial engines at Pratt.