The first flight of Bombardier’s all new regional jet the CSeries100 at Mirabel outside Montreal overnight also debuted a revolutionary geared turbo fan engine that promises to slash emissions and noise more than conventional powerplants.
That engine, designed and made by Pratt & Whitney, is claimed to be of far wider application than the CSeries 100 and its -300 stretch which are built for short to medium range regional flights like those flown today by the smaller versions of the 737 and A320 families and the 717s and F100s and F70s also operated by Australian airlines.
During the takeoff shown live by the site linked above this was a truly quiet engine. A larger thrust version of the P&W ‘Purepower’ engine is offered as an option on the forthcoming Airbus A320 NEO or new engine option line up, in competition with a CFM Leap-X design which while advanced, is more conventional in its design.
This engine may prove to be a substantial advantage for Airbus in competition with Boeing’s competing 737 MAX series, which sits too close to the ground to fit the P&W GTF engine, if it turns out that it has a clear cost and emissions advantage over the rival engine being offered by the Franco-American CFM consortium which is the sole engine maker for current and future 737s.
The industry focus on the engines on the CSeries may not of course be everthing that Bombardier could wish for. It wants to sell many hundreds of the two CSeries models, but to date, has only 177 orders than can be considered locked in, and it needs more if it is to be a viable competitor to the other major regional airliner player, Brazil’s Embraer and its E-jets.
And re-engined and much refined versions of those E-jets, which are due to enter service from late 2017, also use the P&W GTF engines, meaning Bombardier needs some big sales today if possible.
More about the CSeries and its first flight, including photos and videos, can be found here.
Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.