Am I the only one who thinks this aircraft’s proportions are a bit, well, bizarre?
I only say this because when you see how much fuselage is in front of the wings, it strikes me as a touch odd. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad aircraft, far from it. If anything, it, and its fellow CRJ brothers, are among the safest and most successful regional jets in the world, with a track record which has yet to suffer any stains.
The CRJ1000 is a stretched development of the previous CRJ900, being launched in February 2007. Previously, Bombardier had established itself a strong market position for regional airliners, both with the de Havilland Dash 8, inherited from its purchase of the company in 1992, and the Bombardier CRJ200, CRJ700 and CRJ900 regional jets. The huge success of these little airliners meant that there was a huge demand for the likes of the CRJ, and expansion onto hub and spoke routes from large, international airports to smaller regional airports. The CRJ had the advantage over its fellow Dash 8 with regards to speed and range, which made it a preferred choice for the longer distance operations. However, with the demand, issues of capacity started to become something of an issue.
The largest variant at the time, the CRJ900, could only seat 90 passengers, and with rising passenger numbers wishing to exploit the quicker journey times, this meant airlines had to employ the more expensive task of increasing flight frequency, with the additional result of there being no spare aircraft available in the event of a failure.
To address this issue, Bombardier began development on what was originally dubbed the CRJ900X, which, as mentioned, was a stretched version of the previous CRJ900. That, basically, is it. It shares the same, though upgraded, GE CF34-8C5A1 engines and cross-section, but has a slightly larger wingspan and its performance is effected by is increased size. Most notably, it has an increased Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW), but the modified GE engines mean its range is increased by 80nmi, while maintaining the same top speed of 470 knots as the CRJ900. The fuselage stretch of 10 feet means the aircraft is capable of carrying up to 104 passengers, putting it in line with the rival Embraer E-190.
Upon its launch in February 2007, Brit Air and Air Nostrum signed up as launch
customers, briefly followed by an order for 15 aircraft by MyAir before the airline went bankrupt in July 2009. By mid-2009, the total number of orders for the CRJ1000 was 35, 15 of which were with Air Nostrum.
A month later on July 28th, the CRJ1000 took to the skies for the first time ever from the Montreal factory, with intended entry into service by Spring 2010. However, the test flights were quickly marred with teething problems, mostly due to a fault in the rudder controls. These critical issues grounded the testing until early 2010, after which flights resumed and the aircraft’s delivery dates pushed back to January 2011.
Airworthiness by Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency was awarded to the CRJ1000 on November 10th, 2010, and deliveries commenced the following month to Air Nostrum and Brit Air. December 23rd saw the CRJ1000 awarded
airworthiness certification by the FAA in America.
Since its first deliveries, the CRJ1000 has not exactly taken off in terms of sales, but that doesn’t mean its a failure, suiting the market it serves quite nicely. Mostly, the aircraft has found a home in Europe among its launch customers as well as smaller, low-cost airlines such as HOP!, though it has made something of an impact in the Far East with Garuda Indonesia. As of 02/2017, Bombardier has delivered 68 of these aircraft, with 48 still on order, a promising sign that this plucky little plane has very much found a home in the airline industry.