The much-anticipated C919, the large homegrown passenger jet, has finished its first high-speed taxiing test, and it is just one step closer to its maiden flight.
Shanghai-based State-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd, the manufacturer of the C919, completed the high-speed taxiing test in Shanghai on Sunday.
Since the first C919 rolled off the assembly line, COMAC has been conducting tests in preparation for its first flight. So far, it has completed most of ground-based pre-flight evaluations, including the low-speed and medium-speed taxiing tests, to examine the whole aircraft and its key components and connecting parts.
Wang Yanan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said high-speed taxiing tests are usually conducted at speeds of 230 to 260 kilometers per hour, with the front landing gear slightly lifted to simulate takeoff.
"It is hard to evaluate the intervals between each high-speed taxiing tests. It could be two to three days or one week. It could be very fast if everything went right and no big technical faults occurred," Wang said.
"Usually, every latter high-speed test will be conducted at a faster speed than the previous one, and more similar to the real condition before takeoff."
He said COMAC will evaluate if the experimental performance is consistent to the designed capability, and the company would have to finish all the steps to guarantee the success of its flight.
For B787 of Boeing Co and A350 of Airbus Group SE, both widebody planes required high-speed taxiing tests of less than 10 times.
The C919, the single-aisle, 168-seat and twin-engine jet, is a commercial aircraft for medium-haul flights. The homemade plane is expected to compete with the updated Airbus 320 and the new-generation B737, which currently dominate the market.
As of last November, COMAC had received 570 orders for the C919 from more than 20 customers, including domestic airlines such as Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Joy Air.