Featured image: Bombardier/Canadair

5/10/1991: Maiden Flight of the Bombardier CRJ100

DALLAS – Today, in 1991, the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) 100 took to the skies for the first time.

The prototype (C-FCRJ) departed Montreal International Airport (YUL) under the command of Canadair’s Chief Test Pilot Doug Atkins and Co-Pilot Don Stephen. This marked the start of a 1,000-hour flight test program utilising three prototypes.

The jet reached an altitude of 12,000 feet during the inaugural flight, which lasted one hour and 25 minutes.

The world’s largest regional airline, Comair was a major operator of the CRJ100. Photo: JetPix, GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons

“Performed Very Well”

After landing back at Canadair’s Cartierville Airport (YCV), Captain Atkins said, “The aircraft flies splendidly. It performed very well throughout all areas of the flight envelope we explored. Airline crews and their passengers are going to love the Canadair Regional Jet’s quiet cabin and high cruise speed.”

Sadly C-FCRJ would subsequently be lost during a test flight on July 23, 1993. The aircraft entered a deep stall and inverted roll before crashing in Byers, Kansas. All three souls on board were lost.

The C-GRJJ pictured above was the first CRJ100 delivered to launch customer LH. It was later re-registered as D-ACLA. Photo: JetPix GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons


Development of the CRJ began in 1987 after Bombardier purchased Canadair. The new owners decided to create a commercial passenger airliner from the popular Challenger business jet. Bombardier formally launched the CRJ program in early 1989.

The first jet was handed over to launch customer Lufthansa Cityline (LH) in October 1992 before entering revenue service on November 2 between Frankfurt (FRA) and Barcelona (BCN).

The CRJ100 would eventually be developed into the CRJ200. The main change was the upgraded General Electric CF34-3B1 engines, which reduced fuel consumption and improved operating performance.

Featured image is of a CRJ100 prototype C-FCRJ lifts off from Runway 24L at YUL.

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