MC-21-300, the new Russian commercial airliner, has completed its maiden flight at an airfield of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, Irkut Corporation announced today. Irkut Corporation, part of the United Aircraft Corporation, is a Moscow-based aircraft manufacturer.
The maiden flight lasted thirty minutes, during which the new airplane reached an altitude of 1,000 meters and a speed of 300 km/h.
Squeezed by economic sanctions by the United States, much of Europe, and other allies, Russia is attempting to revive domestic industrial production to make the country more economically self-sufficient.
This Russian airplane’s test flight, which had not been announced to the media in advance, comes just three weeks after the maiden flight of China’s new C919 passenger jet.
According to Irkut Corporation: “The airliner is offered to the customers with two options of power plant – PW1400G of Pratt & Whitney Company (USA) or PD-14 of United Engine Corporation (Russia). New-generation engines feature reduced fuel consumption, low noise and hazardous emissions. MC-21 aircraft meets prospective environmental requirements.” (Image: adapted from eng.irkut.com)
Suddenly, the global market is looking much more precarious for the two commercial aviation giants, America’s Boeing and and Europe’s Airbus.
In a Reuters article, Gleb Stolyarov and Jack Stubbs wrote that Western aviation experts expressed surprise at how short the maiden flight was, as well as its low altitude. Most American and European maiden flights last from three to four hours.
Reuters quoted an ‘anonymous’ Western flight test engineer, who said:
“It suggests they either have severe limitations or may have had something happen and decided to come back.”
The test pilots Oleg Kononenko (far left) and Roman Taskayev, talking to Oleg Demchenko, President of Irkut Corporation. The new MC-21-300 airplane is in the background. (Image: eng.irkut.com)
MC-21-300 flight successful – Irkut claims
The company said that during the MC-21-300 maiden flight, a simulated landing approach was performed, followed by a flight over the runway, climbing and then turning. This is a common technique for a new aircraft’s maiden flight.
MC-21-300 was piloted by Oleg Kononenko, crew commander, and Roman Taskayev, copilot.
Mr. Kononenko said:
“Flight mission is accomplished. The flight went in the normal mode. There are no obstacles revealed preventing the tests continuation.”
Mr. Taskayev added:
“Characteristics and operational modes of the power plant are confirmed, all aircraft systems operated without glitches.”
President of Irkut Corporation, Oleg Demchenko, said:
“Today is the historic day for our personnel and the whole big team, which works on creation of MC-21 aircraft. We put the most advanced technical solutions in our aircraft, to provide enhanced comfort for passengers and attractive economic characteristics for air carriers.”
MC-21-300 team members at Irkutsk Aviation Plant on the day of the maiden flight. (Image: eng.irkut.com)
“I am happy to declare the maiden flight of the MC-21 aircraft has been successfully accomplished. I congratulate all project participants on our common holiday!”
MC-21-300 New Russian Aircraft
MC-21-300 is a next-generation commercial airplane with a capacity of between 163 and 211 passengers. Irkut Corporation says that the aircraft has the largest fuselage diameter in the category of narrow-body aircraft, which provides passengers with a qualitatively new level of comfort.
According to a press release by Irkut Corporation:
“This design decision significantly widens private space of each passenger, ensures free passage of passenger and service trolley over the aisle, and shortens airport turnover time. ”
“Natural lighting of the passenger cabin is enhanced due to big windows. Comfortable air pressure and advanced microclimate will be maintained in the aircraft.”
Western experts wondered why the maiden flight was so short – just 30 minutes. Test flights in Europe and North America generally last from three to four hours. (Image: eng.irkut.com)
The manufacturer says its new commercial aircraft has an innovative ergonomic pilot cabin, and is superior to any similarly-sized plane that is currently out there in terms of efficiency and flight-technical characteristics.
– Dense layout capacity: 211 seats
– Two-class layout capacity: 163 seats (147 economy plus 16 business)
– Maximum takeoff weight: 79,250 kg
– Maximum payload: 22,600 kg
– Maximum flight range: 6,000 km
– Height: 11.5 meters
– Length: 42.2 meters
– Wing span: 35.9 meters
Video – MC-21-300 maiden flight
This Sputnik video of the MC-21-300’s maiden flight starts with a view of inside the cockpit as the new aircraft takes off.