MC-21-300 flight testing resumes after Covid-19 break

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Russian company Irkut has resumed flight testing of the MC-21-300 commercial passenger aircraft after a pause in the testing program because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The МС-21-300, which has a capacity of between 163 and 211 passengers depending on seating arrangements, is seen by industry commentators as the Russian alternative to the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max.

Irkut corporation said, “After a short interruption related to the implementation of recommendations to counteract Covid-19, regular flights of MC-21-300 aircraft were resumed as part of the certification test program.”

Four test aircraft are being used in the flight test program, two with passenger cabins, one in a two-class 163 layout and the other in the 211-seat configuration.

Irkut’s parent compay United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) said flight testing is almost half complete. Around 300 of the 650 flights required to obtain a Russian certificate have been conducted.

The test flights are being conducted from the Gromov Insitute outside of Moscow.

So far, the four MC-21s have performed flights at altitudes and speeds typical of revenue service operations, UAC said. Flutter testing and tests related to extreme angles of attack have also been completed. Testing has also been done to  determine minimum separation speeds, instrument landing system operation, navigation, landing systems, and external lighting equipment at night.

Meanwhile, the TsAGI engineering institute has performed most of the static trials with two ground test articles, including life cycle validation.

UAC added that significant efforts was now focused on software development and testing.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 20 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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