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Those are the words of Capt. Andris Litavniks, who was in command on Friday’s maiden flight of Bombardier’s CS300, designed for the 100- to 149-seat, single-aisle market.
The airliner departed Montreal-Mirabel International Airport at 11 a.m. and returned four hours later, marking a major milestone in the CSeries program after years of delays and cost overruns.
“It was an absolute privilege to fly the first flight of the CS300 airliner and I’m absolutely ecstatic with how well it handled,” Litavniks said after landing the aircraft.
“It’s a pilot’s aircraft and handled exactly as predicted by simulation.”
The CS300 is expected to enter service in late 2016.
Test flights for the smaller CS100, which can carry up to 125 people, began in 2013. Certification for that aircraft is expected in the second half of this year with commercial flights starting shortly after that.
Bombardier believes the CS300 offers the best seat-mile cost in its category and is ideal for a range of routes from short-haul to longer transcontinental markets.
“Our CSeries aircraft program is progressing well, with results from testing as expected or better,” said Rob Dewar, vice-president of the program.
“The CS300 airliner will now join the five CS100 aircraft flight test vehicles that have amassed more than 1,000 flight test hours to date.”
Bombardier has won 243 firm orders for the CSeries aircraft, 180 of them for the CS300.
“It was a thrill to see the first CS300 aircraft take to the skies for the first time,” said Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
“We continue to see increased interest from all over the world and as our performance targets are validated, we expect the enthusiasm for the CSeries family of aircraft to grow even more.”
Images are courtesy of Bombardier.