China’s C919 completes flight testing milestone


Chinese manufacturer COMAC’s C919 narrow body passenger aircraft has completed its test flight program and is expected to soon be certified for operations.

According to the company all the flight tests by the six C919 flight test aircraft were completed on July 19, 2022 with certification testing becoming the focus and entering its final stages.

The C919 is China’s first aircraft to compete directly with Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320. The C919 can carry up to 168 passengers and has a range of up to 5,555km (3000 nautical miles).

The narrow-body airliner made its maiden flight in May, 2017. Development of the C919 began in 2008.

The C919 aircraft has completed a series of test flight tasks in Yanliang, Shaanxi, Nanchang, Jiangxi, Dongying, Shandong, Xilinhot, Inner Mongolia, Turpan, Xinjiang, and Dunhuang, Gansu.

According to COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corp of China) flight testing since November 2020 has been conducted to “fully verify the safety and reliability of the C919 aircraft, and do a good job in verifying compliance with airworthiness regulations”.

Cold weather testing of the C919 was conducted in Canada last year.

According to reports, COMAC has around 1000 orders for the aircraft, the majority of which are domestic.

The launch customer for the C919 is state-owned China Eastern Airlines, which placed an order for five of the aircraft last year.

The aircraft is seen is a flagship industrial project for China to move it away from dependence on western aircraft manufacturing. However, the C919’s development and testing has been protracted and many of the aircraft’s key systems, including the engines and avionics, have been imported from US and Europe-based companies.

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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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