The PW100’s remarkable 30-year journey has been made possible by the airframe OEMs and airlines that seized upon the opportunities created by the engine. In doing so, they gave birth to the modern regional airline business that exists around the globe today. In this post, we speak with Tim Paul, a test pilot with Bombardier who flies the iconic Bombardier 415 aircraft, considered the industry’s benchmark amphibious aircraft and the backbone of firefighting missions around the globe. This world-renowned firefighter needs only 12 seconds to scoop its 6,137-litre load while skimming at high speed over water. The aircraft is powered by two PW123AF engines, a member of the storied PW100 family of engines.
PW100: PUSHING THE CAPABILITIES OF THE BOMBARDIER 415
Biographical note: Tim Paul has been Production Test Pilot at Bombardier since 1998. Prior to that, he was a pilot with Conair Aviation for 17 years. In addition to the 415, he flies and supports customers of the Challenger 300 and 605 aircraft.
P&WC: Tell us what it’s like to fly this amazing aircraft.
Tim Paul (TP): “I feel very excited when I’m flying the water bomber. It is the best airplane I fly; it has the best engine, and it provides excitement – scooping water, dropping water, flying near the ground – and a lot of fun.”
P&WC: What does a typical day look like for a test pilot?
TP: “A typical day in flight testing begins with a walk around the airplane. We then take it outside and do engine runs. Once we go flying, we test the engines by shutting them down and then restarting them. We never have problems with the PW100 engine; it’s very reliable.”
P&WC: What’s unique about the PW100 engine?
TP: “The engine is very responsive; it’s light and very well designed.”
P&WC: What does the 415 demand of the PW100 engine?
TP: “The 415 pushes the engine’s envelope because it goes from low-power settings to high-power settings in very short periods of time. The engine is very reliable, never falters and always provides the power required for the mission at hand.”
P&WC: Tell us a little about your career.
TP: “I started flying as a young man and have always been excited by it. I used to fly for a company that did aerial firefighting where the aircraft were powered by rotary piston engines, which were not nearly as reliable as the PW100 engine. The PW100 proved to the water-bombing world that it could take reliability, performance and durability one step higher.”
Editor’s note: Customers of Bombardier’s amphibious aircraft include six Canadian provinces, plus the governments of France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Malaysia and Morocco.