China’s home-grown narrow-bodied aircraft passenger jet, the C919, made its maiden flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Friday, representing arguably the country’s boldest attempt yet to break the global aviation stranglehold that Airbus and Boeing have in international aviation.
Albeit three-years late, the take-off, at exactly 2pm, followed a five-minute ceremony on the tarmac that saw five crew members, led by 41-year-old captain Cai Jun, board the gleaming new aircraft.
It flew to Nantong, about 100 kilometres from Shanghai, before making a U-turn to land back at Pudong airport at about 3:20pm. It has a range of 2,200 to 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 km).
The jet is the first of six C919s which will now undergo rigorous flight testing until 2019 before deliveries are made to airlines, according to Bao Peng, a project manager at the jet’s assembly plant operated by Shanghai-based Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac).
The C919 – whose key parts include engines and avionics systems provided by 15 international companies such as General Electric and Honeywell – has received 570 orders from 23 foreign and domestic customers, including Air China and leasing company GE Capital Aviation Service… see more