High-density MC-21 to resume certification flights

Dmitry Terekhov

The Russian answer to Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, the MC-21, continues certification flights, the manufacturer UAC said. The fourth testbed has just undergone painting and is getting ready to resume certification flights in high-density layout. 

Following a visit to a paint shop, the MC-21-300 testbed returned to Ramenskoye airfield (Zhukovsky, Moscow) on June 25, 2020, UAC said in a statement on the same day. There, the airliner-to-be would continue certification test program flights.  

The MC-21 in a high-density one-class seat layout completed its first test flight on March 17, 2020. In particular, the test aircraft featured a cabin with 172 passenger seats and test equipment onboard. 

“The most dense layout of the MC-21-300 cabin is designed primarily for low-cost airlines,” according to the statement. In total, 211 economy class seats could be fitted on the airliner at its maximum capacity. For the high-density passenger cabin tests, the equipment would be dismantled while the missing seats would be installed. 

Irkut MC-21 will have a range of 5,900 kilometers, just shy of the maximum range of the Airbus A320neo (6,300 kilometers) and the Boeing 737 MAX-8 (6,570 kilometers). 

Initially powered by  Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM engines, the airline is expected to also have an option for Aviadvigatel PD-14 in the future. The Russian-made engines are expected to join the certification program with the fifth test frame that was completed in December 2019. 

The aircraft is expected to enter service with its launch customer Aeroflot in 2022. 

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