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Background and early developments of bombardier aerospace

Bombardier Aerospace is the fourth largest aircraft production company in the world best known for their very successful families of turboprops and regional jets. It is a division of Bombardier Inc. one of the Fortune Global top 500 corporations measured by revenue. Its headquarters is in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Initial plans to enter the larger jet market were considered at the end of the 90’s with Bombardier BRJX (Bombardier Regional Jet eXpansion) project – a fully new larger aircraft with 2+3 or 3+3 seating configuration and underwing mounted engines. It was considered to compete with smallest of the narrow-body jets widely available or being developed at that time – DC-9, MD 80, Boeing 717 and Airbus A318. Bombardier, however, shelved the plans, and stretched version of the CRJ700 was developed instead, that resulted into the CRJ900 and later CRJ1000 aircraft.

In July 2004 when it became evident that the current CRJ family of aircraft is not enough to compete with the best-selling E-170/E-195 family offered by Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, Bombardier announced the development of the CSeries family of airliners – a reworked version of the previously cancelled BRJX project.

At the early stages of the development, two versions of the CSeries airliners were considered, code named C110 and C130, initially planned to accommodate up to 145 passengers in different cabin layouts. That was the first time Bombardier considered to enter the direct competition with the smallest members of the highly successful Airbus and Boeing single-aisle aircraft families.

In May 2005, Bombardier secured agreements with the Federal Government of Canada, the Provincial Government of Quebec, and the Government of the United Kingdom for support and loans for the CSeries project. The Canadian government has committed US$350 million in financing and the British government has committed US$300 million. The program cost was estimated at about US$3.5 billion, and Bombardier was sharing the cost with suppliers and governments (Tomesco F., 2009).

Suspension and restart of the program

In January 2006 Bombardier had to suspend the CSeries program for an uncertain period. The main reason was that the manufacturer failed to secure any significant interest in the new aircraft. According to Executive Vice President Pierre Beaudoin, after studying the CSeries aircraft for two years, it was concluded that market conditions do not justify the investment. About 50 of the 350 workers were left on the program to develop a business plan that may include other partners (Tomesco F., 2006). Bombardier was effectively left out of the larger aircraft market for the time being.

Exactly one year later, however, in January 2007 it was announced that the work on the CSeries family is to resume. It was made public at the 2007 Dubai Air Show that Bombardier has partnered exclusively with Pratt & Whitney, that will supply the new CSeries aircraft with its newly developed geared turbo fan (GTF) engine. Bombardier officially launched its CSeries aircraft in 2008 for an entry into service in late 2013 (Flight Daily News, 2007). In February 2008 Board of Directors of the parent company had granted the authority to Bombardier Aerospace to make formal sales offers of the CSeries aircraft family to airline customers.

Final assembly and key suppliers

Based on the extended financial and strategic analysis, Bombardier decided to build the final assembly facility in Mirabel, in the greater Montreal area, next to exciting one where CRJ family aircraft are being assembled. That would allow easy access to a skilled aerospace workforce and established aerospace education system. Additionally, manufacture of parts of the fuselage and cockpit for the new CSeries will take place at the Saint-Laurent facility, located near Bombardier’s new product development centre.

Bombardier’s centre of excellence for composite manufacturing in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was chosen as a home for the CSeries wings design and manufacture. The facility has over 40 years of experience in advanced composite technologies, which have been successfully applied to regional and commercial jets, including the Bombardier CRJ jets. It has the expertise and skill to continue developing advanced composite structures for the new level of standards required by the CSeries aircraft (Appendix A).

Key suppliers selected by Bombardier for the CSeries aircraft family:

C&D Zodiac - for the design and production of the aircraft’s interior package, which includes the seats, interiors (including the linings, monuments, bins, galleys and lavatories), oxygen system, lighting system, insulation system, waste system and the water system.

Rockwell Collins - as the supplier for the aircraft’s avionics system. Tailored specifically for the CSeries aircraft, its fully integrated flight deck capability that provide flexibility, high reliability and low life cycle costs without compromise on the aircraft’s performance.

Parker Hannifin Corporation through its Aerospace Group - for the design and production of the CSeries airliner’s fully integrated fuel and hydraulics systems.

Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS - for the design and production of the aircraft’s Air Management System, which includes the environmental control and cabin pressure control system (Bombardier, 2008).

Shenyang Aircraft - Centre fuselage.

Alenia Aeronautica - Horizontal and vertical stabilisers.

Fokker Elmo - Design and production of the wiring and interconnection systems.

Goodrich Actuation Systems - Design and production of the flap and slat actuation systems.

All major suppliers work closely with the CSeries team at Bombardier’s Aerospace Product Development Centre in Saint-Laurent as part of the Joint Conceptual Definition Phase (Kirby M., 2009). 

Launch and first orders

At the 2008 Farnborough Air Show Bombardier announced Lufthansa as a launch customer for its CSeries aircraft by signing the letter of intent with the German leading airline for up to 60 aircraft, including 30 options. At that time Bombardier redesignated its new aircraft previously code named C110 and C130 to CS100 and CS300 respectively. In March 2009 Bombardier announced the first firm orders for the CSeries. Lufthansa, who originally signed a letter of intent for 60 aircraft, firmed up an order of 30 CS100’s, which are going to be operated by Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss European Air Lines.

At the same time, airliner lessor Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland, placed another firm order for 3 CS100’s and 17 CS300’s, becoming the launch customer for the latter and picked up options for another 20 aircraft (LCI, 2010).

In February 2010 US-based Republic Airways Holdings has ordered 40 Bombardier CSeries aircraft and placed options on 40 more. The company has signed a purchase agreement for the larger CS300 variant of the aircraft. The aircraft will be configured with 138 seats in a single-class cabin arrangement. Most of these aircraft are expected to go to Frontier Airlines, owned by Republic Airways Holdings, to replace its fleet of Airbus A319’s and A318’s. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2015 (ATI, 2010).

Bombardier is known to be in discussions with several other prospective customers - an unnamed operating lessor for up to 40 CSeries aircraft, Mongolian regional carrier Eznis Airways for seven, Qatar Airways, and several Chinese airlines yet to be named (Kingsley-Jones M., 2009). It is expected that new firm orders are going to be announced before the end of 2010.

Design specifications

The CSeries design takes almost the opposite approach to the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 XWB, each of which will feature a nearly all-composite fuselage but extensive use of metal in their wings. The CSeries features a composite wing, because of its strength-to-weight ratio and because the wing can be built as one composite piece without waste. In July 2010 Bombardier has successfully completed ultimate load testing on the CSeries composite demonstrator wing. During the testing, were replicated 150% of the most severe forces the wing would be likely to experience in service (Ranson L., 2010).

CSeries will be the first ever commercial aircraft whose fuselage is made almost entirely of advanced aluminium-lithium (Al-Li) alloy. Previous experiments by Airbus with Al-Li on the A319 failed to produce a fuselage of the requisite strength, but a new, third-generation AL-Li alloy that uses considerably less lithium than the first generation is suitable for fuselage skins, stringers and ribs. In total, CSeries body consist of 70% advanced materials, that allow significant weight savings (Kjelgaard, C., 2010). The proportion of advanced materials used in CSeries is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. CSeries body materials split.

Source: Bombardier CSeries Executive Overview, 2010

Bombardier decided to use composite parts for small areas of the fuselage under galleys and lavatories, where corrosion damage to metal would be most likely. But its decision to make the fuselage of the CSeries largely from a metal alloy was made entirely on practical grounds, according to Sam Cherry and Martin Gignac, respectively Director and Product Manager of Program Planning , Development & Customer Requirements for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft (Kjelgaard, C., 2010).

Cherry and Gignac explained that while the CSeries will be capable of flying 2,700 nm in full airline configuration with a full payload, its sectors will more often be over distances of 800 – 1,200 nm and the aircraft will be subjected to as many as 12 take-offs and landings a day. As a result, during turn-rounds fuselages will take a lot of minor hits from ground vehicles such as baggage-loaders and catering vehicles (Kjelgaard, C., 2010).

Damage to composites is often invisible, is not easily repaired and major airworthiness authorities are insisting that every time a vehicle impacts a composite fuselage it must receive a time consuming structural inspection. However, impact damage to a metal fuselage creates easily visible scratch damage which – if the scratch is shallow enough – need not be repaired immediately (Kjelgaard, C., 2010).

The aircraft is fully fly-by-wire with no mechanical linkages to the flight surfaces. All flight surfaces are driven by a fully redundant electrically actuated hydraulic system, which also is used to power the landing gear. Using fly-by-wire controls means the control surfaces can be smaller and the whole system is lighter. Overall the weight saving in materials from using fly-by-wire controls is 1,135 kg. according to Sebastien Mullot, Director of the CSeries programme (Kjelgaard, C., 2010).

The CSeries will feature electric brakes. These do not provide a weight saving, but are better for maintainability, because the aircraft’s brake system will not involve hydraulics (Kjelgaard, C., 2010).

Externally, the most noticeable thing about the aircraft will be its four large flightdeck windows, which are curved in three dimensions to provide very good downward visibility during steep approaches, a pronounced aft-fuselage extension behind its fin - a design feature resulting from the use of advanced computational fluid dynamics to optimise the aircraft’s aerodynamics. Moreover, large fan size of the PW1000G engines. The CSeries has a conventional two-underwing-engine configuration, with low-mounted wings and horizontal stabilisers (Kjelgaard, C., 2010).

The aircraft will have retractable tricycle-type landing gear. The main units retract inwards and the nose unit retracts rearward. Each unit is twin-wheeled (Aerospace-technology.com, 2010).

For the maximum maintenance commonality, both versions of the CSeries will have common requirements with over 95% of the line replaceable unit commonality. That also means lower maintenance and spare parts management costs, as virtually all spares are common for both CS100 and CS300.

Both CS100 and CS300 are going to have identical cockpits, which is going to allow certifying both under a common type rating, thus allowing flightcrews to switch instantly between two versions of the CSeries family aircraft. The flightdeck will feature conventional sidestick controllers and a Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics. This avionics solution provides an open architecture that features an intuitive graphical human-machine interface, extensive situational awareness capabilities, and comprehensive integration with aircraft systems. Furthermore, the Pro Line Fusion system offers information management capabilities for database management, aircraft maintenance and airline operations planning to enhance operational efficiency.

The Pro Line Fusion integrated flight deck features the industry's largest high-resolution, 11 x 17 inch LCD displays capable of enhanced and synthetic vision. The displays are the same size as those used on Boeing 787. Rockwell Collins will also provide:

Communication

Navigation

Surveillance

Engine indication and crew alerting system (EICAS)

Aircraft maintenance systems

Graphical flight planning

Wide Area Augmentation System/ Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (WAAS/LPV) – a system, designed to augment the Global Positioning System (GPS) with the goal of improving its accuracy, so that the aircraft can rely on it during all stages of flight, including the precision approach procedures

Extensive Required Navigation Performance with Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization Required (RNP SAAAR) capabilities to enhance performance and flexibility - provide the opportunity to design instrument approach procedures that can be tailored to the geographic situation using curved segments and allowing more precise vertical paths (Alexander F., 2008).

Other CSeries features will include:

CAT IIIa Autoland

CAT IIIb Autoland (optional)

Weather radar with Predictive Windshear

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) - a cooperative surveillance technique for air traffic control and related applications

Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) - a method by which air traffic controllers can communicate with pilots over a datalink system

Single / Dual Head-Up Guidance System (HGS) (optional)

Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) (optional) (Tvrdy P., 2008)

Bombardier chose to fit five screens so that the aircraft can be dispatched with one display inoperative, because the minimum equipment list only requires three operative displays and a functional spare to allow the aircraft to fly. The CSeries cockpit also has integrated standby units, which can also be configured as flight displays (Kjelgaard, C., 2010).

Performance specifications

According to Bombardier, the new CSeries aircraft family is designed specifically for the market segment of 110 – 150 passenger capacity, and that allows it to be an industry leader in operational performance capabilities. All the competing offerings from other aircraft manufacturers in this sector are either stretched versions of smaller designs (Embraer E-195) or shrunk versions of larger designs (Airbus A318/A319, Boeing 737-600/700). In both cases that make it less efficient compared to original optimal size designs.

Thanks to the extensive usage of advanced materials and new technologies, the CSeries is going to be one generation ahead of all currently produced comparable aircraft, that produces the following advantages:

Mature 99% dispatch reliability at entry into service. As shown in Table X, CSeries is designed to be at advanced level in terms of maintenance checks intervals right from the entry into service point.

Table X. Maintenance checks intervals in flight hours (fh)

CSeries

E190/195

A318/A319

737-3/500

737-6/700

“A” Check

750 fh

600 fh

750 fh

250 fh

600 fh

“C” Check

7,500 fh

6,000 fh

6,000 fh

4,000 fh

6,000 fh

Structural Checks

12 years

8 years

6 years

8 years

8 years

Source: Bombardier (2010), Airbus (2010)

15% cash (direct) operating cost advantage per seat-mile. As shown in Figure 2, cash operating cost advantage of the CSeries is over 15% compared to similar size aircraft being currently produced, and up to 30% compared to aircraft already out of production, but still widely used for commercial operations.

Figure 2. Cash operating cost comparison with in-production and out-of-production aircraft

Source: Bombardier, 2010

* - 500 nm leg

20% fuel burn advantage per seat-mile. As shown in Figure 3 fuel burn advantage of the CSeries is over 20% compared to similar size aircraft being currently produced, and up to 50% compared to aircraft already out of production, but still widely used for commercial operations. According to Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Gary Scott, 20% fuel burn advantage over the current competition comes “roughly half each” from the engine and airframe. These figures were indirectly confirmed by Lufthansa’s Senior Vice-President – Corporate Fleet Nico Buchholz, who recently admitted that Lufthansa expects CSeries fuel burn per passenger per 100 km to be around 10% lower than that of the Airbus A380 aircraft also ordered by Lufthansa.

Extended operational flexibility – short field and long range performance. Figure 4 shows how the CSeries is capable to operate from short runways and still able to fly its designed maximum range. Those competing aircraft that can operate from such short runways, such as Avro RJ100, Boeing 717 and Fokker F100, are significantly limited in range, while those aircraft that can fly similar or close range, such as Airbus A318, Boeing 737-500/600, Embraer E-190, require considerably longer runways to be able to operate at MTOW. According to Bombardier, that allows CSeries to obtain 94% more market coverage and serve additional one hundred plus airports on average within the operational range of the aircraft.

Figure 3. Fuel burn comparison with in-production and out-of-production aircraft

Source: Bombardier, 2010

* - 500 nm leg

Figure 4. Increased range and short runway capability advantages of the CSeries

Source: Bombardier CSeries Executive Overview, 2010

Additionally, airfield and range performance of the CSeries will allow competing with larger aircraft in terms of flight distances and offering thinner routes and higher frequencies at the same time with no extra costs. Figure 5 shows the maximum range of CSeries from Frankfurt and New York airports in full airline configuration, including the required fuel reserves and accounting to annual wind component.

Figure 5. CSeries maximum range from New York and Frankfurt airports at MTOW, full fuel reserves and 85% annual wind component

Source: Bombardier, 2010

Variants and technical specifications

Both CS100 and CS300 are going to be offered in two variants:

Standard – base variant. Shorter range version of the aircraft with standard engine thrust of 21,000 lb, capable of carrying maximum payload on distances up to 2,200 nm.

ER – extended range variant. Version of the aircraft with additional fuel capacity, increased MTOW and engines thrust increased to 23,300 lb. Capable of carrying maximum payload on distances up to 2,950 nm.

CS300 additionally is going to have third variant – XT, which is same as base variant, but with the higher-thrust version of the engines, same as on the ER version. Offers improved take-off performance for the airports located at high altitudes and in high temperature areas. For the full list of technical and performance specifications see Table 1.

Passenger cabin

The passenger cabin of the CSeries is designed to be spacious and comfortable. It will feature a 2.13 m ceiling, wider than on most of the single-aisle jets 51 cm aisle, and the largest overhead bins in the class, offering 20% - 25% more storage space per passenger than current state-of-art

Table 1. CSeries family specifications

CS100

CS100ER

CS300

CS300ER

CS300XT

Flight crew

2

2

2

2

2

Cabin crew

2-5

2-5

3-5

3-5

3-5

Passengers

110-125

110-125

130-145

130-145

130-145

Engines thrust (ISA + 15.0 C)

21,000 lb

23,300 lb

21,000 lb

23,300 lb

23,300 lb

Range (MTOW, normal cruise)

2200 nm

2950nm

2200 nm

2950nm

2200nm

Maximum cruise speed (FL370, ISA)

0.82 Mach

0.82 Mach

0.82 Mach

0.82 Mach

0.82 Mach

Normal cruise speed (FL370, ISA)

0.78 Mach

0.78 Mach

0.78 Mach

0.78 Mach

0.78 Mach

Maximum operating altitude

41,000 ft

41,000 ft

41,000 ft

41,000 ft

41,000 ft

Takeoff field length (SL, ISA, MTOW, max thrust)

1509 m

1509 m

1902 m

1890 m

1661 m

Landing field length (SL, MLW)

1350 m

1350 m

1448 m

1448 m

1448 m

Maximum ramp weight

55,384 kg

58,605 kg

60,238 kg

63,776 kg

60,238 kg

Maximum takeoff weight

54,932 kg

58,151 kg

59,784 kg

63,322 kg

59,784 kg

Maximum landing weight

50,576 kg

50,576 kg

55,339 kg

55,339 kg

55,339 kg

Maximum payload

14,560 kg

14,560 kg

17,327 kg

17,327 kg

17,327 kg

Cargo weight

3,715 kg

3,715 kg

4,799 kg

4,799 kg

4,799 kg

Length

34.9 m

34.9 m

38.0 m

38.0 m

38.0 m

Wingspan

35.1 m

35.1 m

35.1 m

35.1 m

35.1 m

Height

11.5 m

11.5 m

11.5 m

11.5 m

11.5 m

Fuselage maximum diameter

3.7 m

3.7 m

3.7 m

3.7 m

3.7 m

Source: Bombardier, 2010

narrowbody aircraft. Bins are so much larger, that can accommodate standard oversized travel bags measured 61 x 43 x 28 cm stowed wheels first. Altogether, that should allow turn-round times as low as 20 minutes (Appendices B, C, D).

The CSeries’ unusual fuselage cross-section, which is based on blending different radii at four different points of the section, has a shape reminiscent of an inverted egg. That allows for the higher situated windows and additional shoulder space at window seats. CSeries passenger cabin is designed to deliver widebody feel in a single-aisle aircraft. See Figure 6 for the schematic comparison of the CSeries cabin with the Airbus A320 cabin.

Figure 6. Passenger cabin comparison between the CSeries (black drawing) and Airbus A320 (blue drawing)

Source: Bombardier CSeries Executive Overview, 2010

In the cabin, each window and aisle seat is 47 cm wide, while the middle seats, which are normally should not be occupied at any load factor below 80%, are 48 cm wide, 5 cm wider than the middle seat in a Boeing 737.

The strength of the AL-Li fuselage has allowed Bombardier to pitch the cabin windows every 56 cm, between every fuselage frame. This gives CSeries better window to passenger ratio than in other comparable aircraft. Every passenger window, located at seated head height, measures 28 cm x 40.6 cm, as compared with the 25.4 cm x 35.6 cm windows in the 737. Each window is located within a large, contoured cutout in the sidewall panelling, to create more space and light and lead the eye out of the cabin.

Large toilets (suitable for disabled passengers) and galleys feature at two fixed points in the aircraft, with other positions entirely reconfigurable. The overhead seatbelt signs will also serve as passenger information systems able to provide cabin safety briefings and other informational videos and advertisements.

Bombardier plans to ensure that cabin’s electrical system will handle most audio/video on demand in-flight entertainment systems and that the aircraft will accommodate all the satellite- and ground-based antenna positions required by different Wi-Fi and in-flight communication systems.

The CS100 can be configured to accommodate from 100 passengers in two-class configuration – with 16 premium class seats at 36 inch pitch and 84 economy class seats at 32 inch pitch, to a maximum of 125 passengers in all-economy high-density configuration at 30 inch pitch.

The CS300, on the other hand, can be fitted with 120 seats in two-class configuration – 16 premium plus 104 economy, or 145 seats in all-economy configuration at the same pitch values. Some carriers, like charter airlines, make choose to use extra capacity configuration, which allows to fit 160 seats, or even opt for a 3 + 3 abreast configuration, considering that MTOW figures allow that (Aircraft Commerce, 2009).

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