The Bombardier C-Series just received certification in Canada last week, and testing is progressing nicely. The airplane passed through Long Beach recently, and I was invited to hop on board to check it out for myself. No, I didn’t actually get to fly on it, but I did get to see that’ll it’ll be a really nice passenger experience. I took a bunch of photos to share with you here.
The C-Series is behind schedule, over budget, and lacking a sizable order book. But with new funding from Quebec and rumors about a potential order from United on the horizon, the chances are increasing that you may see it in actual service within the US. (Yes, Republic has 40 on order, but it has nobody to fly them for.) The airplane is on track for first delivery to Swiss next year.
There are two versions of the C-Series, the CS100 and the CS300. The CS100 will hold around 100 to 125 with the CS300 holding about 20 seats more than that. So it’s in that spot filled (not particularly well) by large regional jets and small 737s/A320s. It’s the equivalent of the 717 that Delta flies around today. When I walked outside and saw the airplane, the first things I noticed were the engines on this bad boy.
Those are Pratt & Whitney geared turbofans which are extremely efficient. (The numbers so far show this airplane to be a fuel-sipping rockstar.) The engines are incredibly high bypass. In the picture below, you can see a ton of daylight passing through.
Soon it was time to head upstairs. I love this view on any airplane, but it’s even better with the sticker saying it isn’t certified. Guess they’ve peeled that one off by now.
Let’s start with the cabin. The airplane is built for 5 seats across. The seats are all designed to be 18.5 inches wide (more than an inch wider than the 737’s seats) with the middle seat at 19 inches and the aisle a generous 20 inches in width. It feels spacious. And if you’re wondering, it’s not wide enough to cram a 6th seat in there. The airlines won’t like that, but passengers certainly will.
You might notice that this doesn’t have the feel of a regional jet at all. Look at the bins on this thing. On the two-side, those fit standard roller bags flat. But on the three side, it’ll take them on their sides. With only 5 abreast, this should have plenty of capacity.
I don’t really care about the seats themselves since these are just demo seats (though the widths are the same for all current orders). But this shot does give you a look at the windows. They’re huge. Not only are they huge, but they’re also spaced closely together. So every seat will have an awesome view. (This particular row is set at a tight 30 inch pitch so you can see how good the visibility is. They had rows with different pitches throughout the cabin.)
Now take a look out that window. Ok, so there’s nothing overly unique here, but I just love that view on any airplane.
While we’re on the side of the airplane, look at the sidewall angle. It’s fairly vertical for an airplane of this size thanks to the way the aircraft was designed. It means better shoulder room than you’d expect.
There are also a couple of full size lavs on the airplane that don’t require contorting yourself to use. Lastly, let’s head up front. This isn’t necessarily something that impacts the passenger experience, but look at the cockpit. It’s incredible how clean a modern cockpit looks when it’s designed from scratch.
I had the chance to speak with the pilot you see at left at length about his experience flying the airplane so far. He loves it (though he’s obviously biased). Still, he pointed out a ton of features showing how intuitive the design is and how it’ll make it easy to fly.
The C-Series has had a tough time getting traction with airlines so far, but as a passenger, I hope we see this thing flying. It looks like it’s designed to be a really nice ride.