Preliminary work on the mid-range narrow-body aircraft project began back in 2010 when the ARJ21 regional aircraft project was in full swing at Comac. Despite the difficulties with the younger aircraft, which only launched regular flights by 2015, the concern continued to actively work on its large brainchild.
Despite the difficulties with putting the ARJ21 into operation, Comac became convinced of the sufficiency of competencies and proceeded to create another liner, much more ambitious.
In 2011, an agreement was signed with the world’s largest low-cost airline, the Irish RyanAir, to cooperate in developing requirements for a new airliner called the C919. At the end of the same year, the appearance of the C919 was approved.
The total cost of the program exceeds $ 8.3 billion. The C919 incorporates all the most advanced technologies available to the PRC. Also, when designing, Comac uses huge computer resources, including the Tianhe-2 supercomputer – the most powerful in the world at that time. According to plans, Comac will produce up to 150 airliners annually (the overall plan of the entire program is to produce up to 2300 units).
In 2014, a shift in the first delivery date for 2019 was announced due to difficulties in production. On November 2, 2015, the first C919 prototype was presented to the public.
On May 5, 2017, flight tests of the prototype of the C919 aircraft began. During a 79-minute flight, the aircraft equipped with CFM Leap 1C engines gained a height of 3 thousand meters and a maximum flight speed of 315 km / h. Flight performance was normal, the goals set for the first test flight were achieved, the Chinese manufacturer said.
It is assumed that the flight test program will take more than two years, six aircraft will be involved in it. The second aircraft is still in the assembly shop.
C919 – freestanding monoplane with a low swept wing and two jet engines suspended on pylons. Tricycle chassis with a front strut. The S919 has a standard aerodynamic layout and is similar to its counterparts in the class – the A320, Boeing 737, and MS-21 airliners.
Most wing elements, including flaps and ailerons, are made in Xi’an, China. Fuselage sections are produced in Nanchang, China. Most of the design of the aircraft is made mainly of aluminum, although part of the center section is made of carbon composites. The engines and avionics on the C919 will be of foreign manufacture, although, over time, the degree of localization will constantly increase.
The engine for the C919 will be supplied by CFM International, the CFM LEAP-1C. Nevertheless, Comac does not hide its plans to create, in the future, a Chinese engine (the Comac CJ-1000A engine is supposed to be certified by the mid-2020s).
The aircraft will have several basic cabin layouts: a two-class for 156 passengers, a single-class for 168, and a single-class compact accommodating up to 174 people. At the same time, the aircraft will be created in two versions with different maximum take-off mass and flight range.
Salon economy class C919 can accommodate up to 168 passengers, a hybrid class cabin – 156 passengers. The maximum flight range of the standard specification liner will be 4075 km, improved – 5555 km. The life of the aircraft is expected to be 90 thousand flight hours or 30 years.
COMAC has already received applications for 517 C919s from 21 customers, most of which are Chinese companies with state participation. Industry analysts at WSJ note that foreign airlines are reluctant to invest in airliner projects that do not have certificates of western flight regulators, such as the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency, and there is no long history of operation, and therefore talk about the global competition the market is still premature.
- Modification C919
- Wingspan, m 35.80
- Length of aircraft, m 38.90
- The height of the aircraft, m 11.95
- Wing Area, m2 129.15
- Weight kg empty equipped plane; maximum take-off 77310
- Engine type 2 turbofan engines CFM International LEAP 1C
- Rod, kN 2 x 110
- Maximum speed, km / h 910
- Cruising speed, km / h 834
- Practical range, km 4075-5555
- Practical ceiling, m 12000
- Crew 2
- Payload 156 passengers in two-class cabins or 168 passengers in a single-class lineup.