The Chinese Competitor. (Teste Seu ICAO)

On September 19, the ambitious Chinese manufacturer COMAC announced signing 130 orders for C919 aircraft. The second model – C929 – is on its way and, build together with Russia, it will rely on Western technology less than its narrow-body predecessor.

C919 signs 130 orders

COMAC, the Shanghai-based state-owned aircraft manufacturer, announced signing commitments for a total of 130 C919 airplanes for 4 different Chinese leasing companies at Beijing Aviation Expo on September 19, 2017.

The four customers include Nuclear Construction Financial Leasing (order of 40 planes), Huabao Leasing (30), AVIC International Leasing (30) and Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) Financial Leasing (30). The latter company revealed making $75K down payments for each firm order, according to Caixin Global.

With the initial 45 jets ordered back in 2012, the latest commitments put COMAC’s C919 order book at 730 planes from 27 customers.

The Chinese pioneer

C919 is the first passenger plane made in China. Designed to compete with industry staples Airbus 320 and Boeing 737, C919 aircraft has a layout of 158 to 168 seats, and a range of 4,075 to 5,555 kilometers. The first aircraft rolled out in November, 2015 and had its first test flight in May, 2017.

According to COMAC, the aircraft is currently at the engineering development phase, as the project demonstration, feasibility study and pre-development and detailed design have been completed.

C919’s LEAP engine family engine has similar components and performance as LEAP-1A (used on Airbus A320neo) and LEAP-1B (used on the Boeing 737MAX), but the version used by the Chinese aircraft (LEAP-1C) has different electrical and mechanical interfaces and appearance.

Its first test flight and development success has already made the model an object of national pride, as it reflects the countries self-sufficiency in high-tech ambition.

"The C919 not only generates a great source of pride for China, but also represents mutual benefits and cooperation between China and the rest of the world. For this reason, the C919 program also carries the pride and hopes of people across the globe," Ye Wei, COMAC’s America Corporation executive director and president, said to Xinhua in May 2017.

As Xinhua Net puts it, over 200 enterprises across 22 locations in China have been involved in the research and development of the aircraft. Ultimately, though, C919 is a product of globalization as its major engines, avionics, control systems and other components suppliers come from outside China.

C929 on its way

Naysayers could question whether the C919 is truly Chinese as it is packed with Western-made components: German landing gear, Franco-American engines and an Austrian interior. Nevertheless, the follow up model is moving closer to being “made in China”. Despite the fact that C929 will probably also have Western avionics, it is already known that the wide-body aircraft will be equipped with engines, jointly developed by Russia and China.

Announced in 2011, the C929 will be a 250-to-280-seat wide-body twinjet airliner aimed to compete with larger (and more profitable) analogs from Boeing and Airbus – the B747 and A340. It is expected to have between 7.400 km and 12.000 km range. Build in cooperation with United Aircraft Corporation (Russia), which provides the know-how part of deal, leaving the resourcing part for the Chinese, the aircraft could be introduced in 2025, with its maiden flights and first deliveries taking part in 2025-2028.

Answer the following questions

(Responda na janela de comentarios abaixo):

1)Why are new aircraft models needed?

2) Name some of the main diferences in the Chinese airplanes compared to their western rivals.

3) To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement and why? Chinese aircraft will soon replace all aircraft in the world.

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