Test pilots yesterday flew the first ARJ21-700 regional jet from its production site in Shanghai to China’s Flight Test Establishment in Xi’an, the capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi province, where developers plan to continue flight testing and earn type certification from the country’s civil aviation authorities. The 700-nm, two-hour, 19-minute trip marked the ARJ21’s longest flight to date, according to official Chinese sources.
The second ARJ21-700 flew for the first time on July 1, marking another important step in the Chinese regional jet’s slow march toward certification, officially expected some time near the middle of next year. That flight lasted 61 minutes, during which time the airplane cruised at an altitude of 9,000 feet.
Placed under the control of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) since last year’s merger of AVIC I and AVIC II into a single, separate entity called Avic Aircraft, the ARJ21 test program will use four flying prototypes, the third of which is now undergoing exterior paint work.
The first ARJ21-700 flew for the first time last November, but by July 9 it had flown just 31 hours and 48 minutes during 17 test flights, according to engine manufacturer GE.