Crowd cheers jet’s maiden test flight
MIRABEL, Que.—Bombardier’s CSeries commercial aircraft took off to cheers on its maiden flight shortly before 10 a.m. (EDT) today.
The gleaming white CS100 plane lifted off the runway at Mirabel airport north of Montreal in sunny skies after early-morning rain ended and heavy clouds dissipated.
Ahead of the launch, Bombardier officials and customers enthused about the potential for the long-awaited plane, which marks a new generation of aviation technology for the company.
“It’s very important for us and the aerospace industry,” said Bombardier chairman Laurent Beaudoin.
His son, Pierre Beaudoin, who is president and chief executive of Bombardier, said he was confident because the CSeries team has done its homework.
“I think every step that we accomplish is a further confirmation that this is going to be an exceptional product,” Pierre Beaudoin said.
The first 110- to 125-seat CS100 is slated to enter into service in about a year, barring delays.
The president and CEO of Toronto-based Porter Airlines, which is planning to use CSeries jets to expand its service from an enlarged island airport near Canada’s largest city, said he’s looking forward to receiving test data to confirm the engine’s are as quiet as expected—and to silencing some critics.
“I think the test data that Bombardier will be able to produce now that this test program is underway should flow to the city [of Toronto] and help validate in due course the information it needs to give the approval,” said Porter chief executive Robert Deluce.
The plane took off from the closed commercial airport after a Global 5000 chase plane passed along the flight route.
The test flight was to last between 45 minutes and three hours.
It is scheduled to be followed by a news conference after pilots provide officials with a debriefing.
The heavily-anticipated first flight had been delayed three times over nearly nine months.
The plane is made of composite materials while its Pratt & Whitney engine promises to be quieter and help deliver fuel cost savings for customers.
The larger CS300, with up to 160 seats, is slated to be delivered by the end of 2014 after undergoing its own test flights.
Bombardier has received commitments for 388 aircraft, including 177 firm orders.
The company has said it expects to secure at least 300 firm orders from 20 customers by the time the first CSeries is delivered.