Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier is pressing ahead with construction of a new wing which promises to make flight more environmentally-friendly.
Work being done by the company in Montreal, Canada, and Belfast, in Northern Ireland, centres around the use of composite materials which make wings lighter.
Composite technology is playing an increasingly important in aircraft manufacture using materials such as carbon fibre. Lighter planes use considerably less fuel.
Bombardier has now completed the first phase of construction of the 55,742 m2 facility in Belfast that will house the manufacture and assembly of the wings for the company's new CSeries commercial aircraft.
As part of the programme, Bombardier's Belfast operation has also developed a Resin Transfer Infusion (RTI) technology to manufacture the large one-piece wing skins and structural spars for the wing torque box. It has already manufactured and assembled a demonstrator wing, which has been successfully tested.
Michael Ryan, Vice President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said: "We are progressing with the composite wing development and test programme as planned, and look forward to starting production of the CSeries aircraft wing early next year."
In Montreal, the product development team at Bombardier's St-Laurent manufacturing complex has successfully joined an advanced composite wing portion to a composite wing box.
Benjamin Boehm, Vice President, Programs, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, said: "The test joining of the outer wing portion to the centre wing box is a significant milestone during the detail design phase of the CSeries aircraft programme."
Since the CSeries aircraft programme was announced at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK in 2008, Bombardier has recorded orders from Deutsche Lufthansa, Lease Corporation International and Republic Airways for 33 CS100 and 57 CS300 aircraft. Options have been placed on an additional 90 CSeries aircraft.
The company has also been experimenting with fuel from an oil seed crop. The project involves a Bombardier Q400 aircraft and a six-partner consortium based in Canada. Tom Todaro, President of Targeted Growth Canada, the Saskatchewan organisation leading the consortium, said: "There's no doubt that biotechnology will play a key role in developing long-term sustainable and low-carbon fuel sources."
Image used © Bombardier