Test pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) completed the third flight session of the MC-21-300 certification program, the plane manufacturer announced on October 31, 2019.
As a first step, EASA experts worked with their Russian colleagues on the flight simulator, reports Irkut press service. The EASA crew and the Yakovlev engineering firm (a branch of Irkut Corporation) then performed a series of flights on the MC-21-300.
Russian officials view EASA certification as a gateway for the airliner to enter the international market. “Obtaining a European certificate will open the MC-21-300 way to the international market,” Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, is quoted as saying in a UAC statement. EASA flight testing began in February 2019.
The Aviadvigatel PD-14 engine, due to eventually power the MC-21, has yet to be certified by the authorities. The four test aircraft are currently powered by the American engine Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM. The last prototype to roll out of the assembly line was initially supposed to rely on the Russian engine but not to delay the program further, the prospect has been abandoned.
In total, 175 MC-21-300s were ordered. Around a third of the orders were placed by the Russian state-owned carrier Aeroflot. Other customers include Siberian, Yakutia Airlines and Bek Air. Irkut also received letters of intent for an additional 160 aircraft. Twenty of them were signed during the MAKS 2019 Air Show.