China’s First Big Pas­sen­ger Plane Rolls off Pro­duc­tion Line

China Today (English) - - FOCUS -

China made aviation his­tory on Novem­ber 2, when its first do­mes­ti­cally pro­duced large pas­sen­ger air­craft was un­veiled in Shang­hai.

The C919 plane was de­vel­oped by the Com­mer­cial Air­craft Corp. of China (COMAC) and, upon be­ing cleared for com­mer­cial use, is ex­pected to com­pete with the up­dated Air­bus 320 and Boe­ing’s new­gen­er­a­tion 737. The C919 has 158 seats and a stan­dard range of 4,075 kilo­me­ters.

As its maiden flight is sched­uled for next year, how­ever, fol­lowed by at least another three years of test flights , it will take some time be­fore the sin­gle-aisle jet can ply in­ter­na­tional com­mer­cial air routes.

COMAC said that it had al­ready ac­cepted 517 or­ders from 21 for­eign and do­mes­tic cus­tomers. The ver­sion off the pro­duc­tion line on Novem­ber 2 is the ba­sic model, but COMAC has ex­tended, short­ened, cargo and busi­ness ver­sions in the pipe­line as well. In ad­di­tion, this new-gen­er­a­tion jet will have flex­i­ble cabin de­signs to suit dif­fer­ent air­lines.

The C1919 is the re­sult of seven years of hard work by a group of 200 air­craft com­po­nent man­u­fac­tur­ers and the re­search teams of 36 higher-learn­ing in­sti­tutes from 22 prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in China. More than 30 for­eign firms, in­clud­ing GE and Honey­well, have sup­plied com­po­nents for the C919 air­craft, and over 200,000 tech­ni­cians were in­volved through­out the pro­duc­tion cy­cle.

“The air­craft uses the very best of do­mes­tic and for­eign re­sources, and was de­signed and made in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards,” said C919 Chief De­signer and COMAC Deputy Gen­eral Man­ager Wu Guanghui.

The air­craft fea­tures 102 new tech­no­log­i­cal and ma­te­rial ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing third-gen­er­a­tion alu­minum-lithium al­loy ma­te­ri­als that are used for the body, ac­cord­ing to COMAC chair Jin Zhuan­g­long.

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