Sixth, final C919 prototype makes maiden flight

The sixth prototype of Chinese commercial passenger aircraft C919, 106, made its first flight on December 27, 2019. The prototype is the last of six aircraft to be used for testing prior to the airliner certification and service entry, expected in 2021. 

The aircraft performed two hours and 5-minute-long flight taking off and landing smoothly in Pudong Airport (Shanghai, China), the manufacturer COMAC has announced. The plane is going to be used to test flight tasks such as verifying cabins, lighting, and external noise.

The 106 is the sixth and final flight test prototype of the C919 large passenger aircraft. It follows the 105, which began flight testing earlier in the month. Now, the 101-105 prototypes are under flight testing in various locations, including Shanghai Pudong, Xi’an Yanliang, Shandong Dongying, Jiangxi Nanchang and others, according to COMAC. 

The C919 is the first passenger plane made in China. Designed to compete with industry staples Airbus 320 and Boeing 737, the Chinese narrow-body 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 rollout 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.

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