TORONTO Feb 19 Canada's Bombardier Inc
said on Wednesday it has obtained a first flight test
permit for its delayed Learjet 85 from the Federal Aviation
Administration and expects the aircraft's maiden voyage in
Bombardier, which has successfully completed engine run and
low-speed taxi tests on the jet, said it will now finalize the
aircraft configuration and conduct more engine run and
high-speed taxi tests at its Wichita, Kansas plant in
preparation for first flight.
The Montreal-based company recently said it would not set a
schedule for entry-into-service for the Learjet 85, its largest
Learjet yet, until it had flown the aircraft for up to two
Previously, the company had targeted first flight by the end
of 2013 and entry-into-service by summer 2014.
"It was a little bit challenging to get all the components
done and producible, but that's behind us now," Bombardier Chief
Executive Officer Pierre Beaudoin told analysts on a conference
call last week. "We feel very confident about our capacity to
manufacture this aircraft as anticipated."
The first flight test vehicle, or FTV1, is complete and
other flight test vehicles are in various stages of fabrication
and assembly, the company said.
Bombardier still faces headaches with its four-times
delayed, over-budget CSeries narrowbody jet, which will compete
with smaller planes made by Boeing Co and Airbus Group NV
The CSeries, which is not expected to go into commercial
service until the second half of 2015, will cost $4.4 billion to
develop, some $1.05 billion over original estimates.