The DGCA has issued a public notice on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) & Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for civil applications. The public notice, which must be complied with, bans the launch of any UAS or UAV in the Indian Civil Airspace.
Such a directive has been issued in the light of potential safety issues associated with high performance UAVs interfering with flight safety. Recent sightings of ‘UFO’s by commercial airline pilots have only helped speed up such a notification.
The notice, issued on 7th October 2014, will remain in effect till the DGCA formulates regulations associated with the certification & operation of UAS in the Indian Civil Airspace, in line with what the ICAO standardizes.
Impact on Hobby Flyers
Since the DGCA’s regulations concerning UAS/UAV will be in line with those of the ICAO, ICAO definitions and policies may be adopted, in large or in entirety.
ICAO Circular 328-AN/190 concerning both UAVs and UAS, states, “In the broadest sense, the introduction of UAS does not change any existing distinctions between model aircraft and aircraft. Model aircraft, generally recognized as in tended for recreational purposes only, fall outside the provisions of the Chicago Convention, being exclusively the subject of relevant national regulations, if any”.
Three and a half months after the first C Series took to the skies, the second Flight Test Vehicle, FTV2, registered C-GWYD, took off from Montréal International (Mirabel) Airport on 3rd January, 2014, climbed to 13,000ft, touched 180knots. The maiden flight lasted 2hrs 15 minutes. When compared to the A350’s program, which has a similar target of certifying the aircraft within 12 months with 5 test aircraft, the CSeries’ CS100 FTV2, has taken to the skies almost 2 weeks earlier.
The 5 CS100s will later be joined by 2 CS300s. Interestingly, Bombardier plans the CS300s for a later stage in the testing, when the CS300 accounts for close to 65% of all CSeries Orders (182). In contrast, the A350-900XWB, which accounts for 67% of the 814 orders, is the model that is flying in the test flight campaign.
Says Rob Dewar, Vice President and General Manager, CSeries Program ,“While FTV1 is the initial test vehicle validating the flight envelope, FTV2 testing will complement the existing knowledge we have gained from FTV1 – all of which will ensure the accuracy and efficiency of the data collected. Specifically, we will look to FTV2 to test the aircraft systems and its redundancies, including the brand-new avionics suite, in addition to measuring the aircraft’s performance. The ongoing momentum of the CSeries flight test program has been an energizing experience for the team, and we are eager to apply the knowledge gained from FTV1 and FTV2 to the following flight test vehicles, which will also take flight this new year."
Robert “Rob" Dewar, Vice President and General Manager, C-Series, Bombardier Commercial Program, gave a brief insight into the certification program of the C-Series, one month after it’s first flight on the 16th of September, 2013.
The C-Series is poised to usher in a new era for Bombardier, while posing as a market threat for popular Airbus and Boeing single aisle aircraft.
There have been a total of 3 test flights till date.
The landing gear and certification tests have been completed for the shimmy. Shimmy is an unstable lateral (yaw) vibration, typically in the range of 10 to 30Hz, which can lead to structural damage and/or collapse of the landing gear. Landing gear as seen on aircraft such as the Airbus A320 family, Boeing 737NG family and the C-Series, among others, are twin wheeled cantilevered, and such landing gears may experience shimmy stability problems at low speeds, and must be tested to validate the design of the landing gear against shimmy.
The ground vibration test of the aircraft is in progress. This testing is part of the plane’s certification program. Selected parts of the aircraft are excited with an external oscillatory force. By observing the aircraft’s response to these vibrations, engineers can model the aircraft’s transfer functions and determine the airplane’s in-flight stability.
These tests results will be compiled and will determine when the airplane takes to the skies for the fourth time, when the test flight envelope will be further opened up. The last three flights have witnessed the C-Series reaching an altitude of 25,000ft, landing gear extension and retraction cycles, tests of both high lift devices: the slats and flaps, and other in-flight manoeuvres.
The aircraft’s performance an handling closely matches the predicted flight model in the simulator. Bombardier is using a Engineering Flight Simulator (ESIM),built by CAE, from the last one year to test actual flight systems and system controllers when integrated in the aircraft, such as the slat-flap computer, fly-by-wire computer, landing gear computer, APU-simulator, brake computers, the PW1500G Engine FADECs (Full Authority Digital Engine Computer), and so forth. Using this ESIM, the flight test program can rely a lot on the simulator to do a lot of the system and integration tests while also preparing flight test crew for various flight test exercises. This builds the confidence of the crew in the aircraft, while also helping complete real flight test exercises with higher success rates and lower risks. System testing has entered the certification testing phase.
Bombardier find the structural test results, in the certification phase, very pleasing. Testing on the cabin management system as well as the environmental control system are in progress.
The CS100 Flight Test Vehicles (FTV) 2, 3, 4, and 5, as well as the first production aircraft are in very advanced stages of final assembly at Mirabel. The larger CS-300’s first major fuselage section is being transported, expected to arrive at the presently non-optimised-for-the-C-Series Mirabel facility.
Which is why the construction of a new 667,000 sq-ft plant, located close to its current facilities in the vicinity of the airport in Mirabel, Quebec, entirely dedicated to the assembly of the CSeries family of aircraft, is progressing well.
According to Charles “Chuck" Ellis, Chief Flight Test Pilot C-Series, emphasising on the need for so many flight test vehicles, “We say it’s (certification program) a one year program but within that one year we’ll probably be doing 5 years of work. We can take one year and 5 airplanes, or 5 airplanes and one year"
Now that the ESIM’s flight and system model has been verified, it will making the certification easier and faster by offering a lot of flexibility and bandwidth in the C-Series certification program, as it is almost like having a 6th airplane in the fleet.