Air Transport World

'Beauty, eh?' (Canadair Inc. rolls out their Regional Jet, jet transport)

Despite the rain, Canadair's Regional Jet brightly at an indoor rollout; market says present economic slump won't affect sales in the long term.

MONTREAL-Many in the regional airline business will refer to 1991 as the year of the rollout. Four rollouts of new regional aircraft are planned this year. One already has been held. on the rainy morning of May 6, it was the Canadair Group of Bombardier's turn to strike up the band, turn on the dry ice and laser beams, press the flesh with politicians and dignitaries, answer the same questions from reporters one too many times, and present to the industry "The Birth of a Classic." That is how Canadair describes its new entrant into the regional-airline business, the 50-passenger Regional Jet (RJ), which has the same fuselage-albeit stretched-as the manufacturer's popular CL-601 business jet.

Four days after its unveiling, the RJ achieved another milestone, taking off from Montreal International Airport on its maiden flight. Powered by two GE CF34-3AI turbofan engines, the first production article flew I hr. and 25 min., reaching an altitude of 12,000 ft. and a speed of 220 kt. Six hours after its historic first flight, the RJ was airborne again. This flight lasted I hr. and 53 min., reaching an altitude of 35,000 ft. Third and fourth flights of some 2 hr. took the aircraft to 41,000 ft. and Mach .7. The aircraft now will undergo a 12-month certification and flight-test program at Bombardier's new test facility in Wichita, Kan.

At a press briefing before the rollout, reporters heard Canadair officials go on about how the RJ is the first in its class and far ahead of the competition, namely Embraer's 45-passenger EMB-145. However, the manufacturer did not announce any new orders, as usually is the case when rollouts occur. Canadair Executive VP Tom Appleton did say that he expects a demand for 1,200 regional jets over the next decade, of which the RJ will occupy half of the market. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.