Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier jet launch delayed by upgrades to software


A NEW plane, the wings of which were built in Belfast, has had its first take-off date delayed for a month.

Bombardier Aerospace -- which has a base in the east of the city -- says that ground vibration tests and software upgrades have been completed on the first CSeries aircraft, known as Flight Test Vehicle 1 (FTV1).

The wings of the all-new plane were invented, designed and manufactured in Belfast at a specially-built factory.

The jet was initially set to have its first flight at the end of June.

The June timetable was set in November, when Bombardier said it wouldn't be able to meet its December 2012 target.

Bombardier has booked orders and commitments for 388 CSeries aircraft, which include 177 firm orders, set against a goal of 300 by the 2014 target for entering commercial service.

Safety of Flight (SOF) statements from all suppliers have been obtained and Bombardier's Flight Test Centre has applied to Transport Canada for a Flight Test Permit.

During the final testing stage in preparation for first flight, FTV1 will conduct power runs, as well as low and high-speed taxiing.

Bombardier says it has "extended the timeline slightly" to allow for additional software upgrades for "improved system maturity and functionality".

However Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, said the timescale has been modest compared to rivals Boeing and Airbus.

"Only five years after launching the CSeries airliner, we're approaching our maiden flight," he said.

"The success of the CSeries aircraft programme so far is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our partners, suppliers and in-house teams. We have also benefited greatly from the involvement of our customers."

The company recorded no new sales during last week's industry showcase at Paris Air Show, but Bombardier bosses have pointed out that the Airbus A380 double-decker jumbo carrier was years late and billions of euro over-budget, and Boeing's 787 Dreamliner continues to have serious developmental problems that have so far delayed the programme by nearly four years.

Another competitor to the CSeries -- the Airbus A350, which launched in 2006 -- undertook its first flight last week.

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