According to C Series Vice President Rob Dewar, one of the main sailable assents would be Aircraft Health Management System, the French translation of which is Système de Gestion de l’état de l’avion.
This system, which registers more than 5000 parameters, allows for real-time monitoring of an aircraft’s condition using two-way communication. Once it is in operation with aviation companies the C Series will not require daily or weekly inspection; it will only need an inspection every 100 flying hours, with an a larger oil thank that as been design for between inspections. Instead of between 500 and 5000 hours checks on A and C types will be made between 850 and 8500 hours, whilst structural inspections will take place every 12 years rather than the current 8 years. This reduction in terms of maintenance is only possible thanks to the AHMS which lets us know both the wear and operating status of many critical components.
The AHMS has already had the opportunity to perform tests on the P1 aircraft which is used to test the functionality and reliability of the C Series. While in flight, the AHMS reported a minor abnormality with one of the hydraulic systems which was identified by the ground team at Montreal-Mirabel, but as it was a minor problem the aircraft continued with its flight. During this time provisions were taken in order to get the aircraft into a hangar in order to carry out the necessary repairs. Technicians replaced the part and the aircraft was ready to take off at its scheduled time on the morning after.
Included amongst the 5000 parameters that the AHMS monitors is all data registered on an aircraft’s black box. Given that the AHMS can transmit this information in real time and offers the storage and preservation of data in a format that conforms to the norms of aviation accident investigation bodies, this should not be a problem. As the AHMS uses satelite in order to transmit data, it should be noted that from 2018 ADS-B services will be available worldwide and that service also use satelite. This service will be offered by a company that will be under the joint control of NavCanada and Iridium. It is highly likely that Bombardier is waiting for the complete and functional deployment of new satellites before announcing its real time black box service, probably because it did not want to have justified the eventual delays in the establishment of a new service over which it has no control.
When I mentioned to Rob Dewar that the AHMS had the potential to make the C Series the airline’s first single pilot aircraft, he replied to me saying that this had been envisaged from the very start of the program. However the absence of regulatory framework which adds up to the rejection by the public of such technology left no choice for Bombardier than to let this technology be put to one side. Remember that whilst these two obstacles are currently very much present, if in 20 years the situation were to change then it would not be necessary to redesign a new aircraft.
I can therefore conclude that not only is the C Series currently the best aircraft but also it is also the aircraft of the future.