13 NOVEMBER 2017
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In a week when China dominated the aviation headlines, the country’s self-developed C919 passenger jet completed its first long-haul flight on Friday from Shanghai to Xi’an in Shaanxi province.
Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), the manufacturer, said the successful operation was another milestone for the narrow-body twinjet rival to the Boeing B737 and the Airbus A320 as it enters the airworthiness certification phase.
The flight covered more than 1,300km (702nmi), lasted 144min and reached an altitude of around 7,800m (25,600ft), COMAC said. The operation was one of several test flights during the past week.
The manufacturer said the aircraft “was in good condition and functioned normally in the air”. The C919 will now undergo a series of more intensive test flights and other preparatory work before seeking airworthiness certifications.
China’s first domestic commercial regional aircraft, the AR21, took about six years to finish its test flights, while the C919 is expected to take three years after COMAC said it plans to have six aircraft in the test fleet.
The second of these is currently undergoing preparation works for its taxi test, likely to be conducted by the end of the month, and it is expected to make its maiden flight by the end of the year.
The C919 has received 730 orders from 27 Chinese and overseas customers.
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