Russia’s MC-21-300 aircraft begins extra cold weather testing


An MC-21-300 test aircraft will be operated at temperatures below -30˚C in Siberia in the coming weeks during a series of cold weather tests to ensure the narrow-body airliner can withstand the extreme cold.

The MC-21-300 has been developed by Russia-based aerospace company Irkut and can carry up to 211 passengers up to 6,000–6,400 km (3,200–3,500 nmi). The twin-engine airliner, which first flew in May 2017 and is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G or Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofans is an indigenous Russian alternative to the A320 or Boeing 737 Max.

The MC-21-300 received its Russian Type Certificate at the end of last month covers operations down to -30˚C and the latest cold weather testing will extend that to cover temperatures below that. The aircraft systems have been successfully tested on test benches at temperatures down to -55 °C.

A group of flight test engineers from Irkut and Russian aerospace development company OKB A.S. Yakovlev travelled to Yakutia, Siberia last week on the test aircraft to conduct the cold weather tests. The test program has been run out of Irkut’s facilities at Zhukovsky Airport, near Moscow.

The aircraft was piloted by test pilots from OKB A.S. Yakovleva Oleg Mutovin and Andrey Voropaev.

Andrey Boginsky, general director of Irkut said, “The flight is the first in terms of a combination of two factors – the remoteness of the destination from the city of Zhukovsky and confirmation of the aircraft’s systems operability, providing a comfortable long flight for many passengers.

“The number of transported specialists exceeded 70 people. They will conduct tests to expand the ability to operate the aircraft at an outside air temperature below minus 30 °C. This is a continuation of the hard work that ended last year with the receipt of a type certificate for the MS-21-300 aircraft.

“We have to conduct a series of tests to expand the certificate and by the end of this year we will hand over the first production aircraft to Rossiya airlines,” said

Daniil Brenerman managing director of OKB A.S. Yakovlev, said that the flight of MS-21-300 from Zhukovsky to Yakutsk, Siberia passed without remarks.

He said, “Ground and flight tests in Yakutia will take place approximately within three weeks, depending on the air temperature in the region. Cooling down of the aircraft precedes each stage of the tests – in the evening and at night it will be in an open parking lot for 12 hours. Organizational and technical support for testing is provided to us by Yakutsk Airport and Yakutia Airlines,” he added.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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