MEXICO CITY – The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) has successfully completed the high-speed taxiing tests of the first and only prototype of its new aircraft, the C919, and has received authorization from the Chinese civil aviation authorities to perform the first flight of the new aircraft.
During the last series of tests, the prototype successfully lifted until raising its nose gear as part of the critical high-speed taxiing tests it was subjected to at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG/ZSPD), where COMAC’s base is located.
The first flight is expected to take place in the upcoming month of May, as the authorization for the flight was obtained on April 22nd and will expire on May 31st.
The taxiing tests began in December of 2016 and 14 sessions in 35 hours were successfully completed, in which the aircraft reached speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour. The first high-speed taxiing test session took place on April 16th and the aircraft was accelerated to 170 km/h to test the functionality of the spoilers.
“To this date, all the necessary taxiing tests before the first flight have been successfully completed”, states Wu Guanghui, chief designer of the COMAC C919.
The C919 model will be equipped with CFM LEAP-1C engines. Six aircraft will be used during the flight testing phase. To date, only one has been built, with the second frame undergoing the final assembly phase.
The C919 was initially launched in 2008 and its first flight was originally scheduled for June of 2014, with the first delivery to launch customer Chengdu Airlines scheduled for 2016.
A total of 570 firm and commitment orders have been placed for the COMAC C919 from 23 clients, with the bulk of the order book consisting of government-backed Chinese carriers.
By 2035, COMAC expects to gain one-third of the single-aisle aircraft market share in China and a fifth of the global market. Their objective is to build between 20 and 50 C919s per year and by 2020 reach a production chain of up to 150 C919s and 50 ARJ21s.