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Bombardier restarts C Series engine tests

Bombardier's C Series 100 takes off on its maiden test flight at the company's facility Monday, Sept. 16, 2013.


Bombardier resumed engine ground tests on its CSeries jetliner Tuesday for the first time since an incident late last month damaged one of the test aircraft and says it hopes to resume flight testing in the "coming weeks."

The May 29 incident prompted all test flights to be grounded and the engine in question was shipped to manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut for analysis. Transportation Safety Board has opened an investigation.

The Montreal-based manufacturer says it and Pratt have a "good understanding" of what went wrong and have introduced unspecified control measures to avoid a recurrence.

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"We are working to get back on track and today have resumed ground engine runs to return the flight test vehicles to flight test program safely," said Robert Dewar, vice-president and general manager of the CSeries program.

Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) has said it believes the engine failure occurred in the low-pressure turbine of an engine "known to have problems" and doesn't believe it had anything to do with a design flaw.

Dewar said Bombardier has been running stationary tests on other systems, including electrical and avionics in the last week and continues to expect deliveries to start in the second half of 2015.

He said repairs have begun on the first test flight airplane, describing the damage as "manageable."

Meanwhile, Bombardier said it is focused on resuming test flights and that the CSeries won't make an appearance at the Farnborough Air Show in mid-July.

Spokesman Marc Duchesne said there are other air shows along with visits to Mirabel that will showcase the aircraft.

Four CSeries aircraft has flown nearly 330 hours of testing, well short of the 2,400 required to receive Transport Canada certification. The company expects to get some credit for ground testing and anticipates flight hours will pick up as a total of seven test airplanes, each with different missions, take to the air.

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Bombardier shares, which fell after the May 29 incident, closed up six cents at $3.85 Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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