Chinese-made Passenger Jet Takes Test Flight

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With the FAA and EASA acting as de facto standard-setters for the world market, aviation companies usually shun aircraft without their certification.

The Comac C919 successfully completed its maiden flight at 15:19 local time, after being airborne for one hour and nineteen minutes. The engine, as well as electronic devices for flight control, wheels, brakes and many other components are made in the USA or Europe.

C919 lands safely at Shanghai Pudong International Airport after its maiden flight at around 3.20 pm, May 5, 2017.

But plane-makers everywhere will know that if the C919 proves a worthy rival, it will win orders because demand for this class of plane is high.

People take photos in front of the Chinese C919 passenger jet after its first flight at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai on Friday. The first large Chinese-made passenger jetliner C919 is. The jet soon became invisible against the dark skies on a windy and polluted day in Shanghai, which was also in the path of dense sandstorms from the north.

The crew of five pilots and engineers, all wearing orange jump suits and aviators, were applauded as they disembarked.

The successful flight of the indigenously-made aircraft made China the world's fourth jumbo jet producer after the US, Europe, and Russian Federation, the state media reported.

The narrow-body aircraft, which will compete with Boeing's 737 and the Airbus A320, is a key symbol of China's ambitions to muscle into a global jet market estimated to be worth US$2 trillion over the next 20 years.

The plane's development was beset by production problems and delays - it had initially been slated to fly in 2014 - and it still relies on a wide range of foreign technology.

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COMAC said at the time it had been aiming for first flight in 2016. The country's state-owned airlines first signed up to buy the jet in 2010, and it was originally supposed to enter service in 2016. "You are not going to spend a lot of money on something you don't know", he said. A total of 23 domestic and foreign customers have placed orders.

However, the expert also pointed out it is not something that will happen over the next decade, but rather a long-term process that will require ongoing support from the Chinese government.

The plane, which can carry 158-168 passengers, had no passenger seats installed for the maiden flight.

Within only 10 days, China has successively launched its first home-made aircraft carrier and large passenger plane, showing its determination to implement "Made in China 2025", a plan to transform China from a manufacturing giant into a world manufacturing power. (Tianjin lies on the coast of north-east China.) Boeing has signed an agreement with, perhaps ironically, Comac, to set up an Aircraft Completion Centre for the 737, in the city of Zhoushan, south of Shanghai.

It is engaged in a long-term process of catching up to Europe, the United States, and Russian Federation in commercial aircraft, he said.

"I would say that a lot of their technology mirrors Airbus", he said.

However, the C919 will need to pass more tests to obtain Chinese airworthiness certification. Comac also relies on worldwide technology from firms such as General Electric, Safran and Honeywell global. The first deliveries of Chinese-developed engines are expected in 2020, according to the company tasked with making them, AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Co. Ltd.

Conceived in 2008, China wants the C919 to eventually take market share from Boeing and Airbus in the lucrative narrow-body market which accounts for more than 50% of the aircraft in service worldwide. Now, there's a new competitor on the block.

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