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The assembly of the test airframe for Bombardier’s all-new CSeries aircraft is well underway at the company’s experimental test facility in St-Laurent, Quebec. The test article will be used during the complete airframe static test, designed to demonstrate the static strength of the airframe and show compliance with certification requirements.
Parts for the first CSeries test flight vehicle (FTV1) are on site in Mirabel, Que., the production site of the CSeries aircraft program. Bombardier said major components for the FTV1 are nearing completion and are on schedule for arrival in late September.
“Every day brings a new development and it’s very exciting. Whether it’s the start of a new test, the results of a new test, or the arrival of a new production part, the team is very enthusiastic about all these milestones,” said Rob Dewar, vice president and general manager, CSeries, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The assembly of the test airframe is another significant development as we make headway in the intense ground testing phase before the CSeries aircraft’s flight test program. The fuselage sections in the test airframe are being joined and we’re looking forward to adding the wings and the empennage, and starting the stress tests.”
The test airframe − comprised of both metallic and composite structures − is being fitted and assembled in a test rig consisting of a superstructure of steel towers and trusses, as well as loading structures and loading actuators that will be used to apply loads to the test airframe. To demonstrate static strength, a series of load cases – representing flight maneuvers, landing, take-off and other in-flight and on-ground conditions − will be applied to the free-floating, non-restrained, counterbalanced test airframe. For selected load cases, internal cabin pressure will also be applied when simulating in-flight conditions.
During testing, strain gauges will be used to measure and record up to 8,000 parameters at defined locations on the airframe. Data from the strain gauges will be monitored by Bombardier’s stress engineers, as well as by the partners and suppliers that are involved in the development of structural components for the CSeries aircraft.
Bombardier also recently announced that the company is now conducting virtual flights with “Aircraft 0” – the on-the-ground integrated systems test and certification rig (ISTCR) for the CSeries aircraft at Mirabel. The avionics, electrical, flight control, fly-by-wire, hydraulic, landing gear and wiring systems are all commissioned, and systems integration and communication have been successfully demonstrated.
Other rigs being used during the ground test phase are: the engineering flight simulator (ESIM) designed and built by CAE and now being installed at the Mirabel ground testing facility; the avionics systems integration test stand (SITS) and the flight controls integration lab (FCIL), which are already commissioned at Rockwell Collins’ and Parker Hannifin’s facilities respectively; and the interior and environmental control systems (ECS) rig which is being completed at Mirabel.