How was the first Chinese-made passenger plane designed?

The C919 jet with a cruise speed of 834 km/h will compete directly with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

C919 aircraft can carry nearly 200 passengers. Photo: Ken Chen/Wikimedia Commons

The COMAC C919 aircraft was delivered on December 9 to customer China Eastern Airlines (CEA), Interesting Engineering reported. It is a milestone in China's aviation industry, marking the first major Chinese-made passenger plane to international standards. The inaugural flight of C919 with license plate B-919A lasted 15 minutes over Shanghai. The plane flew from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport without any problems.

The C919 first flew in 2017 and signed the first commercial contract with CEA in April this year, then received the certificate from the Civil Aviation Association of China (CAAC) on September 29, 2022. The model will begin mass production in November. CEA is planning to acquire four more aircraft in the next two years.

The C919 is a CFM International LEAP-1C twin-engine narrow-body jet. The vehicle can carry 158-192 passengers and has a range of 4,075-5,555 kilometers, according to the Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (COMAC). This 164-seat aircraft has a two-cabin design with 8 business class seats and 156 economy class seats. The middle seat in the row of three seats in the economy cabin is 1.5 cm wider than the two adjacent seats, making it more comfortable for the occupants.

The aircraft has 20 12-inch (30.4 cm) screens that can project movies with a resolution of 1,080 pixels. The C919 is also equipped with a filter system, passenger-focused lights and low noise. The model will enter full commercial operation in the spring of 2023 with the first route between Shanghai and Beijing.

COMAC hopes to be able to produce about 215 C919s a year from 2030, well below the current monthly rate of its competitors. They also plan to expand the project with larger and smaller versions, along with cargo and VIP versions. Currently, COMAC relies heavily on foreign components, including aircraft engines and control systems. An alternative engine, the CJ-1000A, is being developed. Thereby, more and more aircraft parts are produced domestically.

Responsible agency: Union of Science and High-Tech Production and Telecommunications (HTI) - Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology
Editor in chief: Vo Tran
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