COMAC reports ‘steady progress’ on C919 passenger aircraft testing


The first two prototypes of China’s first domestically produced narrow-body passenger were spotted making test flights in Shanghai and Xi’an, Shaanxi province, last week.

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) confirmed that C919 test aircraft 101 took off at 11:05am from a testing base in Yanliang district, in northeastern Xi’an, and flew for 3 hours and 10 mins, while test aircraft 102 took off at 7:13am at Shanghai Pudong International Airport and returned at 8:47am.

The company said in a statement, “At present, the development of the C919 large passenger aircraft project is progressing steadily as planned. R&D flight tests, static tests and subsequent optimizations are being carried out in an orderly manner.”

Aircraft 101 is in the early stage of ground modification and load calibration in Xi’an, while 102 is in Shanghai and has completed stability inspections, performance testing and other test missions and modifications. Work on both test aircraft will soon be transferred to Dongying Base, Shandong province, China, COMAC said.

Meanwhile the third test aircraft has completed its wing and body abutment and airtight rain tests and is having cabling and avionics installed.

COMAC has said it would produce six aircraft for test flights, and complete more than 1,000 compliance tests. Two other aircraft will only undergo ground tests, including static and fatigue tests.

COMAC aims to obtain type certification for the airplane, which is being produced to compete with Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’s A320, in China by the end of 2020, it has been reported.

The company has reported that 815 orders from 28 customers have been placed for the C919.

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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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