CSeries FTV5 is Painted - FTV6 is in Germany, FTV7 & FTV8 are CS300
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October 21, 2014 - CSeries FTV5 is Painted, FTV6 is in Germany, FTV7-FTV8 are CS300
By Sylvain Faust
I know you know what an FTV is, as well as I do! I think the F, Tand V on my keyboard have had to endure more than their share of abuse. And, let's face it, the C, S, E, R and I keys also took quite a beating...
Many of us have been reflecting aloud on the specific purpose of each and every move made by each and every bird, in the select line-up. Since changes to plan are an inescapable part of this game for an efficient adapting team, things necessarily changed a lot from a move to another. And sometimes, quite abruptly from what was originally planned, it must be said. But in the end, all the necessary testing to get the CSeries legally certified will have been brought to a successful conclusion, using those "Flight Test Vehicles".
"Adapting to what?" did I hear. Well, how about having to sit on the ground for three nerve-wracking months?… Was it only about an engine incident? Really? I will not comment here, but, you know what, --here's where "reality" comes in--, and as I learned from Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. "Adaptation", you see, is the key to any measure of success in the quest for survival. If you want to succeed, indeed, if you just don't want to be eliminated, nor declared dead, with your race, or company, extinct. (In case you don't have a clue on what I'm talking about here, no problem, you know I'm here to help as always. Simply go ahead and order this book "Who Moves My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson, it should be fun ;-).
Also, while operating two BFTC (Bombardier Flight Test Center) located at such faraway sites, Bombardier was not merely stretching its luck. On the contrary, the Mirabel, Quebec, facility, where the CSeries is assembled (and its CRJs as well), and the other in Wichita, Kansas, next to the Learjet facility, worlds apart, offer them yet another level of "options". Weather not being the same at both locations (yes, snow and winter is coming here in Quebec, don't talk about this please, I'm not in the mood) it affords the teams a new brand of flexibility, --call it depth, or headroom, if you wish--, in trying to get the certification process to move ahead in the most effective way. The name of the game has now become adaptability.
Why do I feel I should be in politics, I feel I have not said much, if anything so far, but was able to do it using so many words… But here are more words…
FTV1 and FTV2 are presently in Quebec while FTV3 and FTV4 are in Kansas.
FTV5 has never been "outdoor" yet. Well, that's not exactly right, FTV5 was painted yesterday or should be today, it would have to be going outdoor from a hangar to another and back to accomplish this… :-)
Now, the question… What comes next after FTV5?? But first, what is FTV5?
FTV5, the first CSeries aircraft completed like a production aircraft, i.e. with full cabin interior, seats, carpets, overhead bins, hvac (heat, ventilating and air conditioning), entertainment systems, crew galley, lavatories, etc… Yes, the works! One day, it will be sold, like most of the FTVs, except for sure of FTV1. Since FTV1 aircraft would be the one that experienced the most stress during the tests, all this on purpose, it will never be sold. The other FTVs would normally be upgraded to full interior later on and sold at a discount price, the usual thing. For example, read this very interesting paper about who bought from Airbus the A380 test aircraft #2
FTV5 will catch the eye, that's for sure! It will not be sold too quickly since it should also be used to demonstrate the technical capability of the CSeries by flying lots of hours and to extend the ETOPS certification to 180min from the initial certification of 120min when entering into service. ETOPS is the amount of time a twin-engine airliner is allowed to fly with a single engine. Read all about ETOPS ratings and more right here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ETOPS
Also, FTV5 will be used as a demonstration aircraft, showing the cabins and full functionality to new and potential clients. It will also be used toward systems functionality and reliability testing, or F&R. I would love to fly on this one, in fact, on any of those CSeries!
What comes after FTV5? You get it? No, you don't get it… it is FTV7, the first CS300, serial #55001. CSeries FTV6 has been in Germany for a while already doing Durability and Damage Tolerance Tests (DADTT) at the Bavarian company IABG, headquartered in Ottobrunn. DADTT tests, commonly known as full scale fatigue tests, employed a test rig simulating in-flight and ground loads to evaluate airframe fatigue behaviour from the aluminum-lithium fuselage and resin-transfer molded carbon-fiber wing of the Bombardier CSeries.
Back with FTV7, it is a stretched CSeries when compared with FTV1-FTV5. The previous FTVs are CS100 with a length of 35 meters; FTV7 and FTV8 are CS300 with a length of 38.7 meters. Only two CS300 are needed for its certification. Why? Since it is based on the existing CS100 design, most of the tests for its certification are compatible with the ones FTV1 – FTV6 will be completing.
Production plane #1, called P1 (a CS100) is not FTV6, like I explained above, but is serial number 50006. P1 will be delivered to the CSeries launch customer. That "Launch Customer" identity has yet to be announced by Bombardier… Stay tuned for that one.
Ok, did I confuse you more? Hope you appreciate the effort!