First CSeries engines inducted in final assembly

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Bombardier confirms it has received the first pair of engines to power the first flight test vehicle for the CSeries.

The Pratt & Whitney PW1524G geared turbofans - the first of the PurePower engine series to be delivered to a manufacturer for testing - arrived at the CSeries final assembly plant in Mirabel, Quebec in early January, Bombardier says.

P&W is still awaiting certification approval of the engines by Transport Canada.

Bombardier plans to launch flight testing of the CSeries engine before the end of June, and has indicated the first flight event could come months earlier.

The CSeries was originally scheduled to enter flight testing in 2012, but was delayed several months. Bombardier now plans to deliver the first aircraft in 2014.

The PW1524G introduces P&W's fan drive gear system technology aimed at improving fuel efficiency. It allows designers to increase the size of the inlet fan without forcing the tips of the larger fan blades to reach supersonic speeds. The fan would normally rotate at the same rate as the low pressure turbine (LPT) in a conventional engine.

By inserting the reduction gear on the shaft connecting the fan and the turbine, the fan is allowed to rotate at a slower speed. The effect is a larger diameter inlet, which allows the engine to draw in more air to bypass the core and provide more efficient thrust. The CSeries is the first aircraft to test the P&W geared turbofan in flight. Different versions have been selected to power the Airbus A320neo, Irkut MS-21, Mitsubishi MRJ and, most recently, the Embraer second-generation E-Jet.

The geared turbofan is among several innovations being introduced with the CSeries small narrowbody, although its order backlog is still an order of magnitude smaller than the sales of the re-engined and updated A320neo and Boeing 737 Max competitors.

Pictures posted by Bombardier on Twitter last month show that the entire fuselage of the first test vehicle (FTV-1) has been mated with the wings and tail. The fuselage sections for FTV-2 and FTV-3 also had entered the final assembly centre in Mirabel.

Still unclear is the integration status of the CSeries fly-by-wire system. Bombardier plans to release more details about the status of the programme in early March.