Photo By: Dura-Ace

The COMAC C919 aircraft developed by China is in the phase of various intensive and delicate test flights for fulfilling airworthiness requirements. The passenger jet developed by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China conducted a successful maiden flight on May 5, 2017.

The production team has started high-temperature test flights in a city called Turpan which is also known as the land of fire. The city situated in northwest China features high-temperature exceeding more than 40 degrees Celsius during June, July, and August.

The C919 test aircraft landed Turpan on Sunday and will undergo a high-temperature test flight for a month. The engineering team will analyze all the test flights and collect sensitive data for the evaluation of the aircraft’s performance during the varying meteorological conditions.

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COMAC C919 arriving Turpan Photo Courtesy: CGTN

The COMAC C919 is categorized as a narrow-body passenger aircraft that features dual engines. The jet aircraft project was disclosed in 2008 and the production of first of its kind started in 2011. First C919 was completed on 2nd November 2015 and then conducted the first successful flight in 2017.

COMAC C919 SPECIFICATIONS

Fuselage: 3.96 meters

Height: 4.166 meters

Wingspan: 35.4 meters (with winglets)

Payload Capacity: 20.4 tonnes

Cruising Speed: 450knots

Max Operating altitude: 39,800 feet

Engine: CFM International LEAP-1C

Seating Capacity: 168 (1-Class)/ 158 (2-Class)

The production company opted for the CFM LEAP-1C engine over the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G for the C919 airplane. The C919 is expected to compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families however, the competency of the newly manufactured aircraft is yet to be known.

Talking about the orders, the majority of interests have arrived from the Chinese companies and only one overseas company GECAS, Generic Electric has shown interest. Some orders have been finalized out of the 815 provisional orders but the exact number of orders is not disclosed.

The main motive of C919 will be to conquer the domestic market, dominate 737s and A320s, and then prove the reliability to the overseas companies.

The aircraft is heavily criticized for being the Chinese version of Boeing 737 or Airbus A320, nothing more than that. China itself is the huge operator of Boeing and Airbus aircraft as almost all the airlines of China own airplanes manufactured by the two giant aircraft companies in the world. Now the COMAC is competing with Boeing and Airbus with their newest development.

The Chinese aircraft manufacturing company can compete with Boeing and Airbus in the pricing as it will be offering its C919 at a reasonable price to the developing countries. Some reports published about the price of C919 stated it could be expected US$50 million for the aircraft which is almost 30 percent less than B737, A320, Russian MC-21, and SSJ-100.

Besides, it is also expected that C919 will offer better performance and opportunities in terms of maintenance and availability of spare parts.

COMAC has planned to produce four different aircraft models to compete with the popular airplanes in the world. C919 will act as a competitor of B737/A320, C929 will be competing with A330/B787, C939 with A350/B777, and ARJ21 with A220 and Embraer Jets.