Nation

China’s C919 flying higher and faster

China’s home-developed C919 airliner takes off on its second test flight from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport yesterday. The plane will compete for orders worldwide with the Airbus 320 and Boeing’s latest 737. — Zhang Haifeng

China’s home-developed C919 airliner takes off on its second test flight from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport yesterday. The plane will compete for orders worldwide with the Airbus 320 and Boeing’s latest 737. — Zhang Haifeng

CHINA’S first home-developed narrow-body twinjet airliner, the C919, completed its second test flight yesterday from Pudong International Airport in Shanghai.

The C919 single-aisle aircraft — No. 10101 — which made its maiden flight from the same airport on May 5, took off at 7:22am, returning at 10:08am.

It flew north to Chongming Island and over Nantong in neighboring Jiangsu Province and circled for a while over Jiangsu before heading for home, according to the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China.

Its flying time of 2 hours and 46 minutes was double that of its maiden flight, COMAC said.

“Furthermore, the jet completed its first time mission to release and lift the landing gear in the air along with other tests,” a COMAC official said.

Cai Jun, captain on the maiden flight, was also the test pilot for the C919’s second flight. Another two pilots and two engineers were onboard.

On its maiden flight, the jet’s landing gear remained down. During yesterday’s flight it also flew higher and faster.

A batch of tests and improvements had been carried out following the maiden flight in May, COMAC said. Before yesterday’s flight, the jet had completed a number of taxiing tests at the Pudong airport.

“Frequent test flights will be carried out on the jet at the Pudong airport,” Cai said.

After these tests, the aircraft will be moved to Yanliang in northwest Shaanxi Province for more, he said.

The aircraft rolled off the assembly line in Shanghai in November 2015, a milestone for the nation’s entry into the global aviation market as a strong competitor.

A second C919 aircraft made for test flights is taking shape at a COMAC plant in Shanghai. This second plane is expected to make its first flight later this year, COMAC said. The first C919 is being used to test flying conditions, onboard equipment and landing gear while the second will be undergo tests on engine and fuel systems.

Six C919 jets will be assembled for flying tests before the aircraft begins commercial operations around 2020.

The C919, which has 168 seats and a range of about 5,000 kilometers, will compete for orders with the updated Airbus A320 and the new generation of the Boeing 737.

COMAC has so far secured 730 orders from 27 foreign and domestic customers, including national carrier Air China and leasing company GE Capital Aviation Service.

Overseas orders, which account for about 10 percent of the total, include Germany’s PuRen Airlines and Thailand’s City Airways, as well as carriers from Asia-Pacific and Africa. The number of orders increased by about 200 after the success of the plane’s maiden flight, COMAC said.

Meanwhile, the nation’s first home-developed regional jet, the ARJ21, also completed a test flight between Shanghai and Nantong yesterday morning.

The ARJ21 No. 107 took off from Dachang Airport in north Baoshan District at 8:01am and landed at 10:16am. Two ARJ21s began commercial operations last year with Chengdu Airlines.

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