Bombardier opened the New Year with the first flight test of the second CSeries aircraft to emerge from the factory in Mirabel, Canada.
The maiden flight of FTV-2 on 3 January comes nearly three months after the CSeries flight test programme began on 16 September.
In line with the programme’s trend, FTV-2 was slow to get airborne. As late as June, Bombardier executives anticipated that FTV-2 would follow FTV-1 into flight test by one month.
At the time of the first flight of FTV-1 in September, however, Bombardier executives backed off a specific timeline for the debut flight of the second test aircraft.
FTV-1 itself has been slower than expected to make progress. The date of first flight on 16 September was nearly nine months behind schedule. It flew only four times over the next five weeks.
Bombardier plans to release an update to the programme’s development schedule.
The CSeries had been scheduled to enter service with launch operator Malmo Aviation around 12 months after first flight, so September 2014.
But that schedule assumes that Bombardier’s flight team completes 2,500 hours of testing in the air with five aircraft, including three have yet to leave the factory.
The FTV-2 will help Bombardier with more than recovering the schedule.
The company needs to sign firm orders for 118 more aircraft to reach its goal of amassing a backlog of 300 sales by the time the first CSeries enters service.
The data accumulated by the second test aircraft will help validate the undisclosed numbers for fuel efficiency and noise emissions gathered so far by FTV-1.
Bombardier has said several potential customers are waiting for the FTV-2’s data before making a final decision.
Air Canada is one of several major carriers known to be considering a CSeries firm order.