It has been more than seven years since the Airbus A220’s first test aircraft took to the skies for its maiden voyage. Of course, back then, the project was still known as the Bombardier CSeries. While there is no longer a use for the aircraft, known as ‘FTV1,’ as a testbed, Airbus has put its fuselage to use in another domain. Specifically, it will now use it as a full-size cabin mockup for prospective A220 customers visiting its Toulouse headquarters.
The aircraft in question
The aircraft that Airbus has recycled into a cabin mockup started its life as a Bombardier CS100 registered as C-FBCS. Bombardier designated the aircraft as ‘Flight Test Vehicle 1,’ acronymized as FTV1. It was the first aircraft from this aircraft series to be built. According to ch-aviation.com, the aircraft received its registration in May 2013.
It emerged from the factory a month later, and its first flight took place that September. Two weeks after its maiden voyage, FTV1 took to the skies again, on October 1st, 2013. After more than two years in use as a testbed aircraft, Bombardier withdrew C-FBCS in November 2015. Airbus took control of the CSeries program and rebranded it as the A220 in 2018.
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A full-size, walk-in display cabin
With its flying days over, Airbus has now recommissioned the first A220 aircraft’s fuselage for use in its sales department. It now sits in the manufacturer’s showroom in Toulouse, along with similar mockups for its other aircraft. Airbus will use the exhibit to allow prospective customers to fully understand the potential of the A220’s cabin for passenger experience.
A special aircraft has “landed” at our #Airspace Customer Showroom: the first #A220 to ever fly and now used as a full size mock-up. Learn about this unique tool helping our airline customers get the most out of the A220’s wide and flexible cabin.
➡️ https://t.co/wIMIUkBWz0 pic.twitter.com/ATr2O9swhU
— Airbus (@Airbus) May 28, 2021
The mockup will showcase potential cabin configurations for both business and economy class. As well as persuading prospective customers to take on the aircraft, Airbus will also be able to use the display cabin to help existing customers fine-tune their onboard configurations. Airbus’ Airline Marketing Director, Christine de Gagné, stated on May 28th:
“Today marks an important development in the ongoing career of the A220 as a member of the Airbus family, altogether in the Airspace Customer Showroom. We are looking forward to showing the A220 mockup to our customers, who are already extremely enthusiastic to visit.”
The other C-FBCS
Interestingly, the Bombardier CSeries prototype has not been the only aircraft to wear the registration C-FBCS. Indeed, data from ch-aviation.com shows that this designation also used to belong to a Bombardier Dash 8-Q200 owned by Bombardier Aerospace itself.
Bombardier operated this twin-engine turboprop aircraft from March 1999 to April 2010, per ch-aviation. It had been intended for Mesa Airlines, but the Phoenix-based regional carrier didn’t take it up. Since January 2017, it has flown for the US Air Force, under the registration N556PM. It also had this designation at its previous operator, Airborne Services Global.
What do you make of Airbus’ decision to re-use this former test aircraft as a full-size display cabin? Are you a fan of flying on the A220? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.