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China's first home-built jetliner takes off

  • Author:Joey
  • Source:chinatopwin
  • Release on:2017-05-11
China's first home-built jetliner takes off
China's first large domestically-built passenger jetliner has completed its maiden flight Friday afternoon, pushing the country one step closer to competing in the global commercial aviation market.
The C919, along with five test pilots, Cai Jun (captain), Wu Xin (co-pilot), Qian Jin (observer), as well as Ma Fei and Zhang Dawei (engineers), took to the skies from Shanghai's Pudong International Airport at 2:00 p.m. local time on Friday. The flight lasted 78 minutes at a speed of 290-300 kilometers (180-186 miles) per hour, reaching a height of around 3,000meters.

The jet has a flying range of between 4,075 and 5,555 kilometers and a capacity to seat up to 168 passengers, roughly the same size as Airbus' A320 and Boeing's 737-800, among the most popular commercial planes on the planet.
The single-aisle twin-engine plane, manufactured by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), costs 50 million USD, less than half of a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320. 

The C919's maiden flight marks a key milestone in China’s march into the global aviation market, which is estimated to be worth 2 trillion USD over the next 20 years. The accomplishment is seen by many as a step forward and an attempt to challenge a nearly impenetrable market, dominated by a handful of manufacturers.
As of November last year, COMAC had received 570 orders for the aircraft from more than 20 foreign and domestic customers, including China’s major carriers such as Air China, China Southern, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines as well as foreign players such as General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), a world leader in aviation leasing and financing.
Europe's aviation safety regulator last month said it had started the certification process for the C919 - a crucial step for the narrow-body aircraft to enter the Western market.

The C919 project was launched in 2007, with the first aircraft rolling off the assembly line in Shanghai in November 2015.
The airliner finished its final ground trial in Shanghai less than two weeks ago.

It will take another two or three years before the C919 could be commercialized, with a series of flight tests completed, according to Fu Guohua, one of C919's designers.