Bombardier upbeat on CSeries
Investigators are working to discover whether the first-ever Bombardier CSeries to take to the air on Belfast-made wings has been badly damaged by a weekend engine failure.
While the other three flight test vehicles have been grounded while an investigation takes place, the firm has said that the CS100 is still on target to enter service in 2015.
Bombardier has confirmed there was an "engine-related incident" during stationary ground maintenance testing involving the CSeries 'FTV1' aircraft at its facility in Quebec on Thursday.
The company said that it is investigating the incident with the support of engine-maker Pratt & Whitney and the appropriate authorities.
A spokesman said: "The CSeries aircraft flight test program will resume once the investigation is completed."
The composite wings of the new CSeries jet were invented, designed and are being built at a dedicated factory in Belfast and the test vehicles have recorded over 300 flying hours.
It is understood that the engine and the fuselage and nacelles of the plane – which was unveiled to Belfast workers via a live link from Canada in March 2013 – were damaged after an oil-related problem.
Speaking to the trade publication Aviation Week, Bombardier Aerospace president and chief operating officer Guy Hachey said that the damage is repairable and that while FTV1 has been quarantined, the other flight test vehicles will continue to undergo ground tests.
He said that customers, who have ordered over 200 of the planes, were contacted "immediately" as well as some of the aircraft's suppliers, adding: "We don't believe at this point it impacts entry into service."
Bombardier was first to select Pratt's new fuel-efficient engine design in 2007 for the CSeries and more than 5,500 have been sold since then.
Canada's aviation regulator certified the engine in February 2013, and Pratt & Whitney says the engine design has undergone more than 9,000 hours of testing, including more than 1,300 hours of flight.