China's self-developed C919 aircraft finishes 2nd test flight
The C919, China's domestically manufactured large passenger aircraft, makes its second test flight from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Thursday. [Photo by Zhang Haifeng/For China Daily]
China's home-grown large passenger aircraft C919 made its second test flight on Thursday, 146 days after its debut on May 5.
Taking off at 7:22 am from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the C919 passenger jet flew to Nantong in Jiangsu province, northwest of Shanghai, and returned to Pudong airport at 10:08 am. On its second voyage, the jet's flight time increased from 79 minutes to 166 minutes.
"The C919's next goal is to complete the 1,400-km flight from Shanghai to Yanliang near Xi'an in Shaanxi province, where the Chinese Flight Test Establishment is located," said an official from the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, the Shanghai-based manufacturer of the C919.
To ensure a safe flight from Shanghai to Xi'an, the C919 jet will carry out a high frequency of test flights each lasting three hours, and will complete more than 30 subjects in the test flights.
According to local media website Xinmin.cn, the C919 didn't retract its landing gear on the first flight due to safety concerns. In order to fly higher and faster, the flight to Xi'an should have the landing gears retracted as on normal flights.
The C919, which is comparable to the updated Airbus 320 and Boeing's new generation 737 planes, embodies China's ambition to become a major player in the global aviation market.
Since its maiden flight, the C919 has so far received 730 orders from 27 Chinese and overseas companies, including the latest batch of 130 orders last week from four domestic leasing companies.
Apart from domestic aviation companies and financial leasing companies, COMAC has received 34 orders from GE Capital Aviation Services, the largest commercial airline leasing company in the world, German startup Puren Airlines, and City Airways of Thailand.
"Orders for the C919 are expected to reach 750 by the year's end," Xu Pei, deputy chief of the marketing division of COMAC, told China Daily earlier this month.
The second C919 jetliner is expected to have its maiden flight in the fourth quarter. A total of six aircraft will be assigned to different tasks to test the C919's flight performance, You Liyan, an official from COMAC's flight test division, told media earlier.