On September 28, 146 days after its maiden flight on May 5, the first COMAC C919 B-001A (c/n 10101) performed its second flight from Pudong International Airport in Shanghai. This flight lasted two hours and 46 minutes and was considerably longer than the first flight, although it was reportedly cut by one hour due to unknown reasons. Reports say the aircraft will conduct about 30 test flights before leaving Shanghai to relocate to the China Flight Test Establishment at Yanliang, close to Xi’an, where it will conclude its flight testing and carry out qualifications to obtain Civil Aviation Administration of China type certification, an essential first step for the plane to ensure its commercial flights in China.
COMAC is aiming for the second prototype C919 to fly before year’s end, the aircraft having been powered-on for the first time on July 28. The company has a scheduled test programme of 4,200 flight hours before the C919 enters service with China Eastern Airlines in 2020, a date which may slip into 2021. The aircraft’s biggest hurdle, however, might be the aim to achieve a US and European type certification.