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Bombardier unveils CSeries flight deck, details fly-by-wire philosophy

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PARIS -- Bombardier unveiled its CSeries flight deck for the first time at the show Wednesday, the first commercial application of Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics. 

With its twin sidestick controls for the two crew flight deck, the CS100 and CS300 are the first three-axis full fly-by-wire aircraft for Bombardier and a first for the 100 to 149-seat market.

At first glance, many of the CSeries flight deck features may not seem unique and are seen on many widebody aircraft, but when you consider the size of the C100 and C300, the integrated application breaks new ground for commercial aircraft of its size.

The Canadian airframer employs five 15.1in (38.4cm) displays, which have become an industry standard for new flight decks, with two primary flight displays (PFD) on the outboard and two inboard and a center console multifunction displays (MFD) that allow for information to move across multiple screens.

The aircraft's flight control system, a closed-loop fly-by-wire architecture "keeps the pilot in the loop," says Robert Dewar, CSeries program vice president. "The ultimate control of the aircraft always remains with the pilot, so the pilot can choose actually to exceed what the flight deck is telling him. If a pilot wants to do an aggressive maneuver, he is not limited by the aircraft."

Closed-loop fly-by-wire means that a pilot sidestick and pedal input results in a rate of roll, pitch and yaw for the aircraft, not a set deflection of the control surfaces that results in a varying aircraft response at different speeds. Further, Bombardier has opted for a moving auto-throttle system, not auto-thrust, providing a tactile and visual indication to the crew about engine activity.

Bombardier and Rockwell Collins have taken a "head-up, eyes out" approach to the CSeries flight deck, integrating the radio panel into the glareshield, along with an option for dual heads-up displays that provide flight path vectoring and flare guidance.

The integrated flight management system (IFMS) enables RNP .1 navigation, continuous descent capability, along with autoland CAT IIIa baseline and IIIb optional, while the HUD allows for low visibility take-offs.

The avionics package is provisioned for NextGen/SESAR, ADS-B in, and allows for precise altitude, speed and arrival time for waypoint crossing.

Dewar says none of the capabilities of the flight deck features are factored into the aircraft's touted 20% better fuel efficiency over the Airbus A318 and A319 and Boeing 737-600 and -700, while saying the precision navigation capabilities could save a further 2%.

Further, Bombardier is offering an optional Class Two electronic flight bag to achieve a paperless working environment, and also features electronic checklists with closed-loop items that automatically indicate completion when performed by the crew.

The flight deck capabilities are likely to grow in the future with provisions for enhanced and synthetic vision systems to be displayed on both heads-up and heads-down displays.

Dewar says the flight deck is "well defined" and the company is already producing parts. The avionics test rigs are expected to be up and running "later this summer" and will be loaded into the Complete Integrated Aircraft Systems Test Area (CIASTA) before the end of the year.

Dewar says pilot training for the CS100 and CS300, which will enter service in 2013 and 2014, respectively, will take 20 days.

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