BEIJING—Comac has completed taxi testing of the first C919 narrowbody airliner prototype, and received authorization from Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to conduct the first flight.
In the final taxi tests, the first—and so far only—C919 prototype lifted its nose gear in fast runs at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The airport is adjacent to Comac’s main plant.
The CAAC said in a leaked internal report that the C919 will make its first flight in May. Accordingly, there has been a slight slippage from the April target revealed by Safran CEO Philippe Petitcolin in March (Aviation Daily, March 17, 2017).
For the first flight, the CAAC issued a special flight permit. The April 22 document will expire May 31.
Taxi tests began in December 2016. The prototype was used for 14 sessions of taxi tests at low to medium speeds, up to 150 kph (93 mph), China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said. That testing took 35 hr. The first high-speed test on April 16 reached 170 kph, and was aimed mainly at verifying the function of the spoilers.
“As of today, all of the taxi tests needed before the first flight have been completed,” C919 chief designer Wu Guanghui said in an April 23 statement. “All of the test data is reliable and effective,” Wu added.
The CFM Leap 1C engine powers the C919.