Home Tags Posts tagged with "c919"


The C919, China’s first large domestically made passenger aircraft has completed its maiden flight, mounting a major challenge to Boeing and Airbus.

After about 90 minutes in the air the C919 landed safely back at Pudong airport in Shanghai.

The plane is a key symbol of Beijing’s soaring ambitions to enter the global aviation market.

Made by state-owned company COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China), it has been in planning since 2008 but the flight was repeatedly pushed back.

For May 5 maiden flight, the C919 carried only its skeleton crew of five pilots and engineers and took off in front of a crowd of thousands of dignitaries, aviation workers and enthusiasts.

Image source COMAC

Ahead of the flight, state TV said the plane would fly at an altitude of only 3,000m (9,800 feet), some 7,000m lower than a regular trip, and reach a speed of around 300km/h (186mph).

The Chinese plane is designed to be a direct competitor to Boeing’s 737 and the Airbus A320.

In an interview carried out in March but released on Chinese TV shortly before the launch, test pilot Cai Jun said he had full confidence in the plane.

“A pilot knows clearly the condition of a plane. He knows very well whether it will work. So I’m not afraid at all, but focusing more on whether the plane is in its best shape now,” he said.

Cai Jun also described halting an earlier taxiing test in late 2016 because of a problem with the brakes.

“It’s just like driving a car. I put the brakes on, and the plane started to shake,” he said.

The pilot said he had had to argue with the plane’s engineers help refine the design.

“For the designers, the plane is their baby, which they believe is perfect. But our task is to tell them that their baby is not perfect, it has strengths and weaknesses, and they have to make improvements,” Cai Jun said.

The C919 still relies on a wide array of imported technology though, it is for instance powered by engines from French-US supplier CFM International.

Orders have already been placed for more than 500 of the planes, with commitments from 23 customers, say officials, mainly Chinese airlines. The main customer is China Eastern Airlines.

Europe’s aviation safety regulator has started the certification process for the C919 – a crucial step for the aircraft to be successful on the international market.

China has had ambitions to build its own civil aircraft industry since the 1970s, when leader Mao Zedong’s wife, Jiang Qing, personally backed a project.

However, the Y-10, built in the late 1970s, was impractical due to its heavy weight and only three of the aircraft were ever made.

It is estimated that the global aviation market will be worth $2 trillion over the next 20 years.

C919, the first Chinese passenger aircraft, has been unveiled in Shanghai at a ceremony attended by 4,000 guests.

The C919 is a large passenger aircraft having 168 seats and range of 3,444 miles.

The plane’s first test flight is not until 2016, but the unveiling was seen as having huge industrial significance.

“A great nation must have its own large commercial aircraft,” China’s civil aviation chief Li Jiaxiang said.

“China’s air transport industry cannot completely rely on imports,” he told the ceremony at a hangar near Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.China C919 passenger jet

The C919’s manufacturer, Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) says it has orders for 517 aircraft from 21 customers, most of them Chinese airlines, but also from leasing company GE Capital Aviation Services.

The development of the new aircraft has been hit by delays since the project was conceived in 2008. Assuming the test flights are successful, the C919 is due to enter commercial service in about 2019.

China has had ambitions to build its own civil aircraft industry since the 1970s, when leader Mao Zedong’s wife, Jiang Qing, personally backed a project. But the Y-10’s heavy weight made it impractical and only three were ever made.

Boeing’s latest World Market Outlook puts China’s total demand for civilian aircraft over the next two decades at 5,580 planes worth a total of $780 billion.

The C919 will compete in the market for single-aisle jets dominated by Airbus A320 and Boeing’s 737. But the Chinese aircraft is just the start of a strategy to eat into the Airbus-Boeing duopoly.

Comac also plans a wide-body plane, the C929, in cooperation with Russia’s United Aircraft Corp, and the company is also expected to create an aero-engine operation.

A separate state-owned company has developed a smaller regional jet, the ARJ-21, to compete in the market dominated by Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier. The first two ARJ-21s were delivered last year to a Chinese airline.

Foreign companies are key suppliers to the C919, including Honeywell and Rockwell Collins in the US. The aircraft’s engines are made by CFM International, a joint venture between America’s General Electric and France’s Safran.