It’s been a long time coming, but finally the Comac C919 first flight has taken place in front of assembled crowds in Shanghai, China.
This is a new medium-haul narrow-body airliner being pitted against the dominance of the Airbus A320, Boeing 737, and even larger regional types such as the Bombardier CSeries and Embraer E-jets.
The C919 first flight on 5th May 2017 lasted around 80 minutes, with some basic manoeuvres and tests taking place before landing back at Shanghai Pudong airport. The aircraft has registration B-001A.
The C919 is capable of holding up to 168 passengers and flying over a range of 2,200-3,000nm.
At present all of the hundred-or-so firm orders (over 550 options and MoUs) have come from Chinese airlines and leasing companies, apart from 10 (plus 10 options) from US-based GE Capital Aviation Services.
It is likely to stir more interest now that the aircraft has achieved this significant milestone, yet Comac still has a period of testing and certification ahead which will take some time.