China's Homegrown C919 Aircraft Undergoes High-Speed Taxi Test

By | Apr 17, 2017 10:38 AM EDT
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China's First Self-developed Large Passenger Jetliner C919 Rolls Off Production Line

China's first self-developed large passenger jetliner C919 is presented after it rolled off the production line at Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Co., Ltd on November 2, 2015 in Shanghai, China. (Photo : Getty Images)

China's indigenous commercial airliner C919 has been put through its first high-speed taxi test on Sunday morning at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, making it a step closer from its takeoff.

According to China Daily, the plane attained a top speed of approximately 248 kilometers per hour, approaching the speed required for takeoff and landing. The test, which started at 8:00 a.m., lasted for three hours.

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The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) is anticipating to launch a test flight of the C919 in the first half of this year.

An unnamed COMAC official said earlier this year that the C919 aircraft has already reached the early stages of the pre-flight trials including taxi and break tests. However, the China-made aircraft's major avionics systems including the navigation, flight management system, and autopilot remain incomplete. And the final design reviews are still pending.

Meanwhile, although China aims to compete with foreign rivals like Boeing and Airbus, it is reported that most of the C919's parts are supplied by the US and Europe. Nevertheless, experts opined that if COMAC's C919 aircraft successfully conducts its maiden test flight, then it will mark as a huge milestone for the company. COMAC has already experience several setbacks that delayed the C919's maiden flight and delivery date, which are originally scheduled for 2014 and 2016, respectively.

Furthermore, several experts admit that although China could not compete head-to-head with industry giants, COMAC will likely put up some competition as it will likely offer the C919 at a ground breaking price.

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