The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), the Chinese state-owned aerospace manufacturer, has taken another major step forward in the development of its twin-engine narrowbody airliner, the C919.
On August 1, the company’s fourth prototype, B-001E (c/n 004) successfully completed its maiden flight, departing Shanghai/Pudong International Airport at 0530 and returning 1hr and 25mins later. As part of the exercise, the aircraft’s flight envelope was quickly expanded as well as also testing its basic systems.
As the fourth aircraft to enter the flight development and certification programme, it will be used to fully test the type’s advanced avionics system, take-off and landing performance, automatic flight system as well as how it handles in natural icing conditions.
Development of 156 to 168-seat C919 began in 2008 and the first prototype taking to the air on May 5, 2017. COMAC said it is planning to complete flight testing and the certification process by 2021 to allow first deliveries to launch customer China Eastern Airlines to be made. The C919 is intended to compete primarily with the Boeing 737 MAX and A320neo families.