Third prototype of China’s C919 jet completes first test flight


The third prototype of China’s home-built passenger jet C919 takes off during its first test flight at Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China December December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

December 28, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – A third prototype of China’s home-built C919 narrowbody passenger jet completed its first test flight on Friday, its manufacturer said, in another step forward in the nation’s push to become a global civil aerospace player.

The C919, which will compete with Boeing Co’s (BA.N) 737 and the Airbus SE (AIR.PA) A320, is widely regarded as a symbol of China’s civil aerospace ambition and President Xi Jinping’s policy of upgrading manufacturing capabilities.

In a statement on its official microblog, Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC) [CMAFC.UL] said the plane landed safely at Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 12:45 p.m. (0445 GMT), having flown for 1 hour and 38 minutes.

The jet will next fly to the city of Xian in central China for more test flights with a focus on aircraft flutter and airspeed calibration, the company said.

The second prototype of the C919 jet conducted its first flight in December 2017, seven months after the maiden flight of the first C919.

COMAC said it is assembling a further three prototypes, and that all six will be scheduled to conduct flight tests next year.

The C919 has dozens of customers that have placed orders and commitments for 815 jets.

COMAC is aiming to obtain certification for the plane from Chinese regulators by the end of 2020, as well as Europe’s aviation safety regulator, which agreed in April to start the certification process.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Christopher Cushing

Source: Reuters “Third prototype of China’s C919 jet completes first test flight”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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Maiden Flight of 3rd China-made C919 Large Airliner within This Year


China’s homegrown C919 large airliner. Chinanews.com photo

During the two sessions of NPC and CPPCC, progress in the development of China’s homegrown C919 large airliners draws keen interest. NPC deputy Xiang Qiao told reporters that so far great progress has been made in key technology of the core parts of C919. Xiang is deputy chief designer of the state major special project of aviation engines and gas turbines and a member of Chinese Engineering Academy.

According to Xiang, China is closer to the goal of obtaining the ability to produce advanced aviation engines independently than ever before.

He pointed out that China’s goal is not so simple as to make a few types of engines but to lay sound foundation for scientific research and technology and establish close cooperation among various domestic collages and scientific research institutes to join force and superior resources to tackle key problems.

Another NPC deputy and member of the Academy, chief designer of C919 Wu Guanghui said that China had made two prototypes and tested them a total of 23 time. He disclosed that maiden flight of the third prototype of C919 is expected to be conducted at the end of this year. China plans to make three more prototypes for test flights to ensure that they meet over 1,000 requirements. There will also be two more prototypes for whole-plane static and stress tests.

Source: Beijing Youth Daily “C919 chief designer: Maiden flight of third homegrown large airliner expected at the end of this year” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


China Builds Steam Catapult, Large Aircrafts with Ukrainian Technology


Soviet steam catapult

Soviet steam catapult

Chinese prototype of steam catapult

Chinese prototype of steam catapult

Ukrainian large aircraft

Ukrainian large aircraft

Ukrainian large transport

Ukrainian large transport

Mil.news.sina.com says in its report on March 27 that China has built a prototype of steam catapult as it has got top secret blueprints of the catapult that the Soviet Union had developed for its first nuclear aircraft carrier the Ulyanovsk, which was being built and then scrapped when the Soviet Union collapsed. Ukrainian experts helped China build the prototype.

As China has mastered the technology to build a more advanced electromagnetic catapult, China will not install any steam catapults in its future nuclear aircraft carrier. However, the technology learnt from the steam catapult has certain been very helpful.

In addition, according to mil.eastday.com’s report a few days earlier, Ukraine has moved its large aircraft production line to China. The technology China has learnt from the production line will greatly help China in developing large airliners, transport aircrafts and strategic bombers.

Sources: mil.news.sina.com “Depth Column: How close is the friendship between Ukraine and China?: Provision of top secret of Soviet nuclear aircraft carrier” and mil.eastday.com “Through cooperation with that country, it is hopeful for China to greatly upgrade its large aircraft technology” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)


China’s Xi: China Must Have Large Strategic Bomber


Nose part of China's AG600 amphibious aircraft

Nose part of China’s AG600 amphibious aircraft

Chinese government’s primetime TV news CCTV yesterday gave first place to its report on China’s three new large aircrafts.

It says that China’s efforts in developing large aircrafts have reached the harvesting stage.

General assembly of China’s AG600 world largest amphibious aircraft began yesterday and that of China’s C919 airliner will begin soon.

China’s large military transport aircraft, the Y-20, has undergone various difficult test flights under very demanding weather and geographical conditions for two years and is expected to be delivered soon.

With a takeoff load of 50 tons, AG600 is larger than the amphibious aircrafts of Russia and Japan, the only two countries in the world that produce such aircrafts.

It is a powerful vehicle for fighting forest fires and marine rescue. It can take 12 ton water in 12 seconds and let down all the water on fire in 4 seconds.

For marine rescue, it can land on the water near the area of accident to send lifeboats to take 50 victims onto it.

As it cruises at a speed of 480 km/hour and has a range of 5,000 km, it is able to conduct rescue mission at James Shoal, China’s remotest reef in the South China Sea, within 5 hours.

The large amphibious aircraft is certainly developed first of all for rescuing Chinese naval crews in case of war, but the report avoids saying so.

Instead it stresses the tremendous driving force of large aircraft industry for China’s economy as the innovation and creation in aviation industry will bring along 16 times of innovation and creation in other industries. That will give rise to an industry of the scale of US$16 billion.

However, we shall not fail to notice China’s tremendous efforts in developing three types of large aircraft at the same time. In addition, at the end the report, Chinese President is quoted as saying, “We must have our own large aircrafts.”

What large aircrafts?

Large airliners? China has already imported and will import lots of large airliners. What China lacks is large strategic bombers, which China has to to make on its own as it is utterly not available in the world.

Large trasport?

Y-20 will soon be delivered. Why the emphasis?

Since Xi urges Chinese air force to develop integrated space and air capabilities for attack and defense, in order to be able to attack, Chinese air force naturally needs large strategic bombers. The large aircraft Xi really means may well be large strategic bomber!

AVIC Deputy General Manager Geng Ruguang is shown on the screen as saying that China is able to develop a new type of large aircraft in 8 to 10 years like developed Western countries.

It seems Chinese engineers are quite confident that they will be able to develop the large strategic bombers Xi wants.

Article by Chan Kai Yee based on CCTV’s report “China-made large aircrafts, new driving force for China’s manufacturing industries”. Summary translation of the report from Chinese is included in the article.


China to Delay Maiden Flight of C919 Large Narrow-body Airliner


The nose of China's home-grown airliner C919 is unveiled in Chengdu, Sichuan province, July 31, 2014. REUTERS/China Daily

The nose of China’s home-grown airliner C919 is unveiled in Chengdu, Sichuan province, July 31, 2014. REUTERS/China Daily

According to Reuters exclusive report “Exclusive: China set to delay maiden flight of C919 commercial jet – sources”, China is to delay the maiden flight of C919 by 2 years.

The report says, “The narrow-body aircraft, which will be able to carry 156-168 passengers and aims to compete with the Airbus (AIR.PA) A320 and Boeing (BA.N) 737, was originally scheduled to fly by end-2015 but two sources said it would be delayed to the first half of 2016.

“Delivery of the first plane, scheduled for 2018, is also likely to slip, perhaps to as late as 2020, the sources added.”

This blogger says in his post “China’s Aircraft Engine Better than Imported One for the First Time” yesterday, that reliance on imported aircraft engine is inability to This blogger has quite a few posts on China’s dependence on imported the bottleneck in China’s development of advanced aircrafts.

In China’s original plan, it has to use imported engines for its C919 airliners. Now according to the report mentioned in my post yesterday, China is able to produce a type of aircraft engine better than imported one. Judging by the photo of test and the bird impact testing described in the report my post bases on. The engine must be a turbofan engine for China’s airliner, transport and other aircrafts that use such engine.

China certainly will use homegrown engines for its C919 airliner, If so, it has to delay the maiden flight of C919.

The following is the full text of Reuters report:

Exclusive: China set to delay maiden flight of C919 commercial jet – sources
SINGAPORE | By Siva Govindasamy Wed May 13, 2015 8:27pm EDT

The maiden flight of China’s only homegrown commercial jet, the Comac C919, is behind schedule and delivery could be pushed back as much as two years, sources familiar with the program said, dealing a blow to its push to challenge Airbus and Boeing.

The narrow-body aircraft, which will be able to carry 156-168 passengers and aims to compete with the Airbus (AIR.PA) A320 and Boeing (BA.N) 737, was originally scheduled to fly by end-2015 but two sources said it would be delayed to the first half of 2016.

Delivery of the first plane, scheduled for 2018, is also likely to slip, perhaps to as late as 2020, the sources added.

That means the C919 will be later, and a technologically inferior product, than the re-engined and improved variants of the 737 and A320 that will enter service in the next two years.

State-owned Comac, which is leading the design, development and production efforts into the C919, declined to comment.

China has high hopes for the C919 in the lucrative narrow-body market which accounts for more than 50 percent of the aircraft in service.

The final assembly of the first aircraft is taking longer than expected at the production facility in Shanghai, said the sources, who declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

“Comac is proceeding extremely cautiously with the first aircraft. It is deliberately checking everything … to ensure that there are no safety issues,” one source said.

Comac has commitments for 450 C919s, mainly from Chinese airlines and leasing firms backed by Chinese banks and financial institutions. Further delays will make it harder for the plane to make an impact beyond its home market.

China has identified the development of a mature aerospace industry as being key to economic growth, and the C919 and the acquisition of the associated technological know-how is central to that goal.

While Comac executives and Chinese government officials are concerned about the impact of the delays on the image of the C919 and the country, safety is a priority, said sources.

“Any delay is unfortunate, but it is far more important to have an aircraft that is safe and reliable. China is developing the C919 with long-term goals in mind, and it must be patient and careful,” said a source close to Comac.

INTERNATIONAL SUPPLIERS

The first aircraft is in its sub-assembly facility, which is next to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, and it will be rolled to the adjacent final assembly plant once the tail, vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer are fixed.

The two CFM International Leap 1C engines, manufactured by a joint venture between General Electric’s (GE.N) aviation unit and France’s Snecma, will then be attached.

Systems from international suppliers such as Honeywell, United Technologies subsidiary Goodrich, Rockwell Collins and Parker Aerospace will be installed in the coming months.

“There is still a lot of work to do. At the pace that Comac is proceeding, they will only complete the systems integration around end-2015,” one of the sources said.

The aircraft would then undergo ground tests which could take several more months, pushing the flight test program further out.

Chinese subsidiaries of AVIC, the country’s state-owned aerospace conglomerate, are manufacturing the major components of the C919 such as the fuselage, wings and tail in factories around the country. These companies have many years of experience as suppliers to both Airbus and Boeing.

Comac, however, is largely dependent on the global suppliers for many of the aircraft’s systems, although this is similar to the approach taken by Airbus and Boeing for their latest aircraft programs such as the A350 and 787.

Many of these suppliers have been asked to form joint ventures with Chinese companies, with Beijing hoping that the country will eventually have the capability to produce these systems and components at home.

That goal, however, is many years if not decades away from being realized, say industry observers.

LESSONS LEARNED

While Chinese designers and engineers conceived and developed the C919, Comac has hired several former employees of American and European aerospace companies to help with the program.

Comac will be hoping to learn from its much-delayed 100-seat ARJ-21 jet, which received its type certification in December, six years after its first flight and more than 12 years after it was conceived.

The first plane is due to be delivered to launch customer Chengdu Airlines in the coming months.

Certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will allow the C919 to enter into service in the domestic market.

Comac, however, could also seek a U.S. FAA certification to improve the aircraft’s standing in the international market and appeal to customers outside China.

Airbus forecast in December that China will need over 5,300 new commercial aircraft from 2014 to 2033, or 17 percent of the world’s total demand, and it will become the leading country for both domestic and international passenger air traffic.

(This story has been refiled to change “fixed” to “attached” in paragraph 14)
(Editing by Stephen Coates and Jeremy Laurence)

Source: Reuters “Exclusive: China set to delay maiden flight of C919 commercial jet – sources”


China, Russia to Set Up Joint Space Base on the Moon


Photos of pupils of Russian military school with Chinese Guards of Honor who have come to Moscow to participate in May-9 military parade marking 70th anniversary of Russia’s victory of the Great Patriotic War

Photos of pupils of Russian military school with Chinese Guards of Honor who have come to Moscow to participate in May-9 military parade marking 70th anniversary of Russia’s victory of the Great Patriotic War

Russia’s Moscow Times listed four top projects of cooperation between China and Russia to describe the increasingly closer ties between the two de factor allies.

We do not know whether the newspaper’s description aims at countering the closer ties between the US and Japan resulting from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s current visit to the US. However, the four projects, especially the establishment of a joint base on the moon do indicate the exceptional close ties between countries in the world.

The four top projects mentioned by the newspaper are:

  • Joint space base on the moon;
  • Joint development of M-26 helicopter;
  • Transaction of S-400 missile system; and
  • Joint development of large airliner

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russian media lists four top projects between China and Russia: Probable establishment of space base on the moon” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


China Xi Jinping Stresses a Strong Country’s Ability to Make Its Own Large Aircraft


Xi Jinping on a C919 prototype

Xi Jinping on a C919 prototype

Soon after entering a contract with Russia on development of large airliner during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Shanghai visit on May 20-21, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the Design, Research and Development Center of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd on May 22, 2014.

He held a conference with the foreign experts in Shanghai and said at the conference, in the current world of economic globalization and socialization of information no one can block the flows of commodities, information, technology and talents.

For a country, opening up to the outside world means first of all opening up to foreign talents; therefore, there may not be real opening-up if our thoughts are shackled and our minds remain narrow. In opening up to the outside world, our focus shall be placed on people and our efforts shall be related to talented people so as to urge people to open up with respect to their vision, thoughts, knowledge and technology. By so doing, we will keep on attaining new highs in opening up to the outside world.

Xi stressed the importance of drawing in talents because according to the contract between Russia and China on development of large airliner, the development and production will be conducted in Shanghai. Xi expected that quite a few Russian experts would come to Shanghai and wanted the experts already in Shanghai to respect, learn from and cooperate satisfactorily with Russian experts.

When Xi was in the workshop to inspect a new airliner, lots of workers and staff came to meet him. Xi told them that as a strong country, China must have its own equipment manufacture industry and be able to produce large aircrafts on its own despite all the difficulties China has to overcome in doing so.

Note: The enterprise Xi visited produces commercial aircrafts, but the technology for civil aircrafts can also be used in producing large military transports and strategic stealth bombers. We shall not restrict Xi’s concept of large aircrafts to commercial airliners.

Source: huanqiu.com “Xi Jinping places great hope on the team that developing C919: A strong county must have its own large aircrafts” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

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