The third China-made advanced regional jet carried out its maiden flight on Sunday, bringing the ARJ21 model one step closer to secure airworthiness qualifications from home and abroad.
The trial flight of the ARJ21-700 at an altitude of 3,000 meters and a speed equivalent to 318 kilometers per hour began at 1:21 p.m. and lasted 56 minutes.
After its landing, test pilot Deng Youming reported to general manager Jin Zhuanglong of the developer-- Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC)-- that everything was normal in the air.
"Both the takeoff and landing were smooth. ...I feel fairly good," he said.
After its assembly and the ground functional test were completed in July, the jet had its first taxing on Sept, 3.
Unlike the previous two jets painted blue and white, the third one took red as its dominant due.
Jin explained that the color change was to cater to the festival mood of the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China that falls on Oct. 1. In China, red is an auspicious color.
Also changed was the purposes of the tests, COMAC sources said. This latest test would be mainly focused on the jet's power-supply and avionics systems while the previous two tests, carried out in November and July respectively, targeted stability control and propelling machinery.
COMAC also announced that a fourth jet would be put to test this year and go through all tests in relation to the airworthiness certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States Department of Transportation.
These four jets would alternate to receive tests in both Shanghai and Xi'an, with the total test flight hours expected to hit 1,650.
According to plans, the ARJ21 regional jet should secure domestic airworthiness qualification by the end of 2010 and that authorized by the FAA by 2012.
The first home-made commercial plane in China had so far received 208 orders from home and abroad, including 25 ordered by the GE Commercial Aviation Services, the largest aircraft-leasing company of the United States.
(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2009)