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April 23, 2024
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COMAC has completed all flight tests with the C919 and is now waiting for certification of China’s newest commercial airliner, the state-owned company said in a media statement on July 23. COMAC C919 completes all flight tests.

The statement says that after the completion of the test program of six C919 prototypes, a summary meeting was held on July 19 at Weinan Airport to discuss the status of the program. The meeting stressed that the six C919 test aircraft completed all the test flight tasks, marking that the C919 forensic work has officially entered the final stage and begun to charge at the evidence collection with full force. This is a crucial stage victory won by the C919 large passenger aircraft under the strong leadership of the Cpc Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core”, the translation of the statement says.

Flight tests of the C919 started on May 5, 2017. Shortly after that, engineers identified some structural issues with the engine mountings and tailplane that required modifications. This led to a slower test campaign, which was further hampered by Covid in early 2020 when China went into a lockdown. At the beginning of this year, the emergence of Omicron resulted in new and very strict Covid restrictions which left four test aircraft stranded at X’ian’s Yanliang test center. Testing continued only out of Dongying and Changzhi before resuming in full in May, when it needed some 240 flight hours until certification. On May 14, the first production aircraft destined for China Eastern Airlines made her first flight. The airline had hoped to take delivery of the aircraft by the end of 2021. When exactly China Eastern will start C919 operations is not known.

Data on FlightAware show that aircraft B-001A and B-001D last flew out of X’ian on June 16, B-001C on April 28 in Changzhi, B-001E on June 14 from X’ian, B-001F on July 8 from Wuhan, B-001G on June 8 from X’ian. Yet, COMAC released a promotion video that showed all six C919s together at an undisclosed airfield, lining up on the runway for areal shooting (main picture, still from video).

C919 offers up to 192 seats

The COMAC C919 is offered with a 158-seat, two-class cabin or with 168 and 174 seats in a single-class layout. “A flexible cabin layout with maximum seats up to 192 in accordance with different customers’ demands”, a C919 brochure says. The standard C919ST has a range of 2.200 nautical miles/ 4.074 kilometers while the extended range version C919ER comes at 3.000nm/5.556km. The Maximum Take-Off weight of the standard version is 75.100 kilograms, that of the ER 78.900 kilograms. The aircraft is powered by the CFM LEAP-1C, which is based on the -1A that powers the Airbus A320neo family.

COMAC had a very limited presence at last week’s Farnborough Airshow, showing only a couple of leaflets and posters in a tiny booth. At the 2018 edition, the company had its own chalet, which seemed to be little used.

author avatar
Richard Schuurman
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016. Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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