Aviation News

May 30, 2014

Developing: C-Series Flight Tests on Hold After Engine Failure

A Bombardier CS-100 undergoing maintenance tests at Mirabel Airport near Montreal, suffered an uncontained engine failure on Thursday. The failure is reported to have also caused damage to the fuselage of the aircraft, known as FTV1. However it is unknown at this time how severe that damage is. Also unknown is where in the engine the failure occurred. While engine casings are required to be able to contain a failure within the fan section of an engine, that same requirement does not extend to the compressor or turbine sections. Bombardier has grounded the other C-Series aircraft that are participating in the flight test program as a result of this failure.

A diagram of a geared turbofan engine. Courtesy Tosaka via Wikimedia Commons

A diagram of a geared turbofan engine. Courtesy Tosaka via Wikimedia Commons

The engine involved was a Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1500G geared turbofan. Previously only used in smaller engines designed for business jets, the geared turbofan uses a mechanism that allows the fan and the turbine that powers it to each rotate at different speeds. While turbines are most efficient when rotating at high speeds, the fans at the front of the engine work best when they are turning more slowly. The PurePower engines that Pratt & Whitney is developing are intended for large regional jets as well as narrowbody airliners. In addition to the C-Series, other upcoming aircraft that will see these new engines include the Airbus A320neo and Embraer E2 series of E-Jets, among others. It is unknown if this engine failure will have any implications for the development of the other aircraft types at this time. The PW1500G was certified by Transport Canada in February of 2013.

Bombardier is currently investigating the cause of this incident, with the assistance of Pratt & Whitney and Canadian safety regulators. The manufacturer has stated that once the investigation is complete, the flight test program is expected to resume. It is currently not known how long the investigation is expected to last.

The CS-100 and CS-300

The CS-100 and CS-300

This incident marks the latest in a series of setbacks which have significantly delayed the first delivery of the new type. Initially launched in 2004, Bombardier was initially unable to secure any orders for the type. Relaunched in 2007, the pace of orders has been somewhat anemic, though sufficient for Bombardier to continue development. First flight was initially scheduled for 2012, with the first CS-100 to be delivered in 2013 and the larger CS-300 arriving a year later. However design and production delays pushed the first flight well into 2013, with that flight only occurring on September 16th of last year. Further delays, caused by difficulties experienced in the flight test program, have pushed the first delivery of the CS-100 to late 2015, with the CS-300 expected six months later.

 

Ben Granucci, Associate Editor, is an aviation enthusiast and planespotter based in New York City. Growing up in Connecticut, he has had his eyes toward the sky for as long as he can remember. He can be reached on Twitter at @BLGranucci or through his blog at Landing-Lights.com



About the Author

Ben Granucci
Ben Granucci, Senior Editor, is an aviation enthusiast and plane spotter based in New York City. Growing up in Connecticut, he has had his eyes toward the sky for as long as he can remember. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.




 
 

 

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