Flight testing of the Irkut MC-21 aircraft, a competitor to the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 programs, is advancing further, as a fourth aircraft test took off on its maiden voyage on December 25, 2019, the manufacturer of the jet announced.
United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) stated in a press release that the flight took 1 hour and 40 minutes, with the aircraft reaching an altitude of 9800 feet (3000 meters) and speeds of 269 knots (500 kilometers per hour). All tasks were performed “completely” and the flight encountered no issues, according to UAC.
The Irkut MC-21 is designed to compete with the two most popular narrow-bodies in the skies today, the A320 and the 737 families. The largest version of the MC-21 family is able to carry up to 211 passengers, with a maximum range of 3666 miles (5900 kilometers) in a typical two-class configuration of 163 travelers. First four test frames are powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM engines, while the fifth, currently still in assembly, will be powered by the Russian-made Aviadvigatel PD-14, a power plant that carries a fair share of controversy behind it.
UAC expects the MC-21-300 to enter service in 2022 with the national flag carrier of Russia, Aeroflot.