The first MC-21 narrowbody powered by Russian-made PD-14 engines flew for the first time Tuesday morning from United Aircraft Corporation’s Irkut plant in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. The flight lasted for one hour and 25 minutes and took the airplane to an altitude of 11,000 feet and a speed of 240 knots. The crew, consisting of test pilots Vasily Sevastyanov and Andrey Voropaev and test engineer Alexander Solovyev, checked powerplant operation modes, aircraft stability and controllability, and systems operations.
"The flight task was fully completed,” said Sevastyanov. “The new engines worked steadily in all modes."
The MC-21 program already has flown four MC-21-300 prototypes equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1400G turbofans and now hopes to gain certification for the Western engine-powered version by the end of 2021. The PD-14-powered MC-21-310 emerged as a reaction to the threat of tightening economic sanctions by the U.S. that might limit the amount of Western content in the new narrowbody. UAC has since offered the PD-14 to power China’s Comac C919 to address U.S. sanctions against that country.
"[The] MC-21-310 heads to the development tests and [is] joining the certification program,” commented UAC general director Yury Slyusar. “The ability for customers to choose the type of aircraft engine expands the aircraft's market potential and reduces the risks of the program.”