COMAC transfers fifth C919 jet for flight testing in Nanchang

COMAC has transferred the fifth prototype of the C919 large passenger jet from Shanghai to a site in Nanchang where the airplane will undergo further flight testing. The aircraft in question is a penultimate plane devoted to flight testing. 

The fifth prototype of the C919 commercial single-aisle aircraft was transferred from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) to Nanchang Yaohu Airport, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) announced on December 5, 2019. The one hour and 37 minutes flight was operated by a crew of five people: three pilots and two flight engineers.

The C919 105 is the fifth of six test aircraft for the Chinese program. It made its maiden flight on October 24, 2019, taking off from Shanghai Pudong for a one hour and thirty-seven minutes flight. 

Now at Nanchang site, the aircraft will undergo various flight testing to check brake tuning, drainage, power supply, fire prevention, and environmental control, according to the manufacturer. Special flight tests will be used to evaluate the aircraft’s performance in high temperature, high humidity, and cold conditions. 

In total, COMAC plans to use six C919 prototypes to conduct various tests, including stall, power, performance, stability, flight control, operations in extreme temperatures, etc. Two aircraft devoted to ground testing will conduct static tests. 

The other four first prototypes conducted test flights in Xian, Nanchang, and Shandong Province. The latest flight test aircraft, the 106, is expected to make its debut by the end of the year. 

The C919 is the first passenger plane made in China. Designed to compete with industry staples Airbus 320 and Boeing 737, C919 aircraft has a layout of 158 to 168 seats, and a range of 4,075 to 5,555 kilometers. 

China established COMAC in May 2008, announcing plans to produce its first commercial jetliner. The initial design was completed in April 2009. Provisional plans were to send the jet on its first flight in 2014, but due to production issues that did not happen. 

The C919 was presented to the public for the first time in November 2015, at a roll-out ceremony in Shanghai. In May 2017, the first prototype C919 successfully performed its maiden flight. COMAC is currently targeting 2021 for certification process culmination and first deliveries to customers. 

Nanchang Yaohu Airport is an airport in Nanchang, Jiangxi, China. It is mainly used for test flights by Hongdu Aviation Industry Group, a Chinese aircraft manufacturer, but also serves as a general aviation airport.

The first C919 prototype takes off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport for the maiden flight in May 2017.


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