Russia’s 737 MAX Rival to Fly Before Year-end with Locally Built Engines

The Irkut MC-21-300, Russia’s answer to the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo, is set to make its maiden flight before the end of the year with domestically produced engines, the company’s CEO confirmed. 

Yuri Slyusar, chief executive officer at United Aircraft Corporation – the parent company of Irkut – told President Vladimir Putin in a meeting on Monday that the engines have already been mounted on the type at the airframer’s facility in Irkutsk.

The Irkut MC-21-300 was rolled out to the public on June 8, 2016. Wikimedia Commons/Denis Fedorko

“Our latest event this year will be the flight of MC-21 with the domestic PD-14 [engine]. We should complete this work by the end of the [2020],” Slyusar added. 

The type conducted its maiden test flight on May 28, 2017, but all operations so far have been powered using the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G turbofan engine, a powerplant commonly found on the Airbus A220 and Embraer’s second-generation E-Jet.

Ground Run
All operations in the flight test programme have so far been conducted with the PW1000G turbofan. Irkut 

The company received its first Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofan for installation in January this year. 

Meanwhile, the Russian aerospace firm this week completed a series of water-ingestion ground runs for the type.  

Over a six-day period, Irkut conducted a total of 29 trials – all at speeds varying from 10 to 150kts (172mph).

The testing took place at Ulyanovsk/Vostochny Airport in western Russia, where a 70m (229ft) wide and 20m (65ft) long pool of water was placed on the runway for the jet to roll through. 

Irkut MC-21
A total of 29 test runs were completed over a six-day period. Irkut

The ground runs were conducted in support of the MC-21-300’s certification programme, which began shortly after its maiden flight in 2017. 

A total of four airframes have been built so far and deliveries aren’t expected to begin until at least 2021.