C919 flight testing continues despite coronavirus threat


Chinese aircraft-maker Comac is pressing ahead with flight testing of the C919 despite the Coronavirus with the flight of the sixth test aircraft.

The prototype aircraft, designated AC106, took off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 11:08 and landed at Dongying Shengli Airport at 13:07 after a flight of 1 hour and 59 minutes on February 23.

Crew members of this flight test include Test Pilots Wu Xin, Zhang Jianwei and Zou Lixue, and Flight Test Engineers Li Chang and Zhang Hongliang.

AC106 is mainly undertaking  flight tests related to the verification of cabin, lighting and external noise at the test bases such as Dongying.

Comac is using six aircraft for flight testing and certification purposes and has scheduled 4,200 flight hours for completion of more than 700 test items ahead of the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s certification of the C919 in 2021.

The first prototype AC101’s flight-test campaign has been conducted at Xi’an in China, while AC102 undergoes flight testing in Shandong Province. The third prototype C919 MSN103, which first flew in December 2018, was flown from the Shanghai factory to Xi’an flight-test center in central China in July for modifications before a new round of flight tests, beginning with flutter and airspeed calibration.

The fourth test aircraft was completed and made its maiden flight in August 2019. while the fifth was reported as completed and airborne during early December 2018.

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

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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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