6 JANUARY 2020
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New narrow-body twinjet challengers to the Boeing B737 and Airbus A320 from China and Russia both took to the air on test flights over the holiday season. China’s contender is the Comac C919, while Russia has the Irkut MC-21-300.
The C919 passed its latest milestone with the sixth and last prototype completing its first test flight. The aircraft has more than 300 firm orders, mostly from Chinese customers but including 10 from the US leasing company Gecas.
The 2hr 5min test flight took off from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport and carried out 30 tests on lightning, cabin layouts, engine noise and passenger comfort. The aircraft had its first flight in May 2017, with full certification planned for next year.
In Russia, the maiden flight of Irkut’s fourth MC-21-300 test aircraft lasted 1hr 40min at an altitude of 3,000m (9,800ft) and a speed of up to 500kmh (270kt). Three other MC-21-300s are carrying out certification test flights at a facility in Moscow.
The MC-21 can be powered by two types of engines, the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G that is also used in Airbus A220 and Embraer E2 jets, and the Aviadvigatel PD-14, a domestically-built powerplant.
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