Only a few months remain until the first new Bombardier CS300 aircraft join airBaltic’s fleet.

Captain Gerhard Ramcke, the airline’s chief CS300 pilot, and First Officer Javier Camarasa Valiente, an airBaltic pilot and Training Centre instructor, visited Mirabel, Canada, in May to meet with Bombardier engineers and technicians. As the final touches are added to the first consignment of these ultramodern planes, Ramcke is overseeing their transfer to Riga. Once all of the 20 new CS300 aircraft are in operation, airBaltic will own the youngest fleet amongst Europe’s airlines, with the average age of its planes decreasing from a bit less than 12 years to 2.5 years. It’s a perfect fit for airBaltic.

“The CS300 is a state-of-the-art aircraft. Instead of modifying older designs and upgrading previous models like other manufacturers do, Bombardier started from a sketch. That’s why the C Series has a beautiful design both inside and out, excellent aerodynamics, the newest materials and the most advanced avionics,” says Camarasa.

What will the CS300 bring to airBaltic passengers?

Captain Ramcke emphasises three things that will take their travel experience to a new level:
“First of all, it is a modern and new cabin interior. Secondly, extra space in the cabin in general, in the middle seat and in the overhead luggage bin. Thirdly, the reward of flying in an aircraft that produces less noise and fewer emissions from fuel burn.”

The cabin of the new CS300 feels even more spacious than Camarasa had envisioned: “The seat configuration is in rows of two and three seats, which could seem a little strange in the beginning. However, this permits a wider aisle and small details that I love, like how the middle seat is wider than the two on each side of it. This way, you will never have to worry about being squeezed in between two other people.”

The CS300 is a great example of future engineering, in which humans simply oversee the computers that handle the principal operations. Pilots can thus focus on the essentials and monitor the safe and efficient progress of the flight. First Officer Javier Camarasa Valiente explains:
“For me as a pilot, the most important feature is the Fly-by-wire system. The Fly-by-wire computer operates between the pilot controls (side stick in the CS300) and the aerodynamic control surfaces of the wings and tail. This makes flying much easier for the pilots. Even on a beautiful day, the soil heated by the sun creates updraft air currents, and light winds altered by mountains, trees or human constructions can become a bit turbulent. In an airplane with conventional controls, the pilot has to deal constantly with these factors, especially close to the ground when the aircraft is taking off or landing. In the CS300, the Fly-bywire
does this for the pilot, automatically applying all of the small but necessary corrections to maintain the desired flight path and simultaneously monitoring how the pilots are flying, so it will never allow a plane to go inadvertently beyond its limits.

Ramcke agrees that the biggest challenge for pilots will become data processing:
“Since the aircraft is very easy to fly and handle, it is side work like data management that might be challenging for pilots coming from aircraft like Boeing, which are two generations older.”

Finally, when it comes to where they would take the CS300 on their first flight, Ramcke says:
“I would fly outbound to a place where we could show the world that airBaltic, with its green tailfins, is the first company to fly the most modern singleaisle passenger jet in the world.”

Camarasa’s first flight would be inbound: “On my first flight, it would be nice to fly back to Riga, the first home base of the CS300 in the world.”

This means that we already have a perfect pilot team for the first flights from the new base of the CS300 – Riga, Latvia.