In our Aug/Sept issue, Rob Erdos muses on float flying and we discuss night aerial firefighting. Plus: Air Canada in the pandemic, KF Aerospace at 50 and Canadians in the Battle of Britain.
The first Airbus C295, purchased by the Government of Canada for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) aircraft replacement program, has completed its maiden flight, marking a key milestone towards delivery by the end of 2019 to begin operational testing by the RCAF. The aircraft, designated CC-295 for the Canadian customer, took off from Seville, Spain, on July 4 at 8:20 p.m. local time and landed back on site one hour and 27 minutes later.
“On these types of flights, pilots and flight engineers test the aircraft’s flight controls, hydraulics and electrical systems,” an Airbus spokesperson told Skies. “All systems performed effectively, as expected.”
FWSAR program facts and figures
The contract, awarded in December 2016, includes 16 CC-295 aircraft and all in-service support elements including, training and engineering services, the construction of a new training centre in Comox, B.C., and maintenance and support services.
The aircraft will be based where search and rescue squadrons are currently located: Comox, B.C.; Winnipeg, Man.; Trenton, Ont.; and Greenwood, N.S.
Considerable progress has been made since the FWSAR program was announced two-and-a-half years ago: the first aircraft will now begin flight testing; another five aircraft are in various stages of assembly; and seven simulator and training devices are in various testing stages.
In addition, the first RCAF crews will begin training in late summer 2019 at Airbus’s International Training Centre in Seville.
The FWSAR program is supporting some $2.5 billion in Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) to Canada through high-value, long-term partnerships with Canadian industry.
“At Airbus, we are proud of our growing work in support of the Government of Canada and of the men and women who serve the country in the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Simon Jacques, president of Airbus Defence and Space Canada. “The maiden flight of the first Royal Canadian Air Force CC-295 aircraft is a milestone in that deepening partnership — and is a demonstration of Airbus’s commitment to being a strong contributor to Canada’s economy, to supporting the local aerospace sector and to giving our personnel the tools they need to keep Canadians safe.”
As of January 2019, 86 per cent of key Canadian In-Service Support (ISS) tasks have been performed in-country by Canadian companies in relation to establishing the FWSAR ISS system. Airbus is thus on track in providing high value work to Canadian industry and has demonstrated a successful start to the development and transfer of capability to Canadian enterprises for the support of the FWSAR aircraft.
Beyond direct program participation, Airbus is generating indirect business across Canadian military, aeronautical and space industry including small and medium businesses in support of the ITB program.