TORONTO May 30 Canada's Bombardier Inc
said its all-new CSeries commercial aircraft passed a
crucial milestone, completing a series of ground tests essential
to obtaining flight certification ahead of its maiden flight at
the end of June.
The single-aisle CSeries, the Canadian plane maker's $3.4
billion challenge to industry leaders Boeing Co and
Airbus, performed the last of seven Safety of Flight
(SOF) tests in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, the company said.
Orders for the CSeries have been lackluster so far as
airlines await the first flight to see if the plane's technology
and efficiency claims hold up. Bombardier has firm orders for
145 planes; its goal is 300 by mid-2014, when the CSeries is
scheduled to enter service.
Bombardier has declined to give a firm date for the maiden
flight but reaffirmed its end-of-June target during a conference
call with analysts earlier this month.
The CSeries is a family of narrow-body, twin-engine,
medium-range jets that will carry 110 to 160 passengers.
The safety tests were conducted on the Complete Airframe
Static Testing, or CAST, a giant metal structure that encases
the airframe and evaluates the jet's static strength and
integrity by measuring how it handles flight maneuvers, landing,
take-off, in-flight and ground conditions.
While flight safety tests are done, structural static
testing on the CSeries - Bombardier's largest commercial jet -
will continue. Over the next two and half years, the aircraft
will be subjected to more than 90,000 rounds of testing,
simulating 30 years in operation, Bombardier said.