The 14th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, which opened on November 8 in the southern city of Zhuhai, is now showcasing a range of advanced aerospace equipment. The C919, China’s first homemade passenger airplane, has made its debut, demonstrating a series of actions such as taking off at a high elevation angle and circling maneuvers at 45 degrees.
The full name of the C919 is “COMAC C919,” with COMAC being the acronym used to refer to the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. The first “9” means “everlasting,” while “19” means that the maximum passenger capacity of this large passenger aircraft is 190 seats. At the end of the year, the first C919 will be delivered to China Eastern Airlines for a price of 650 million yuan ($89.5 million).
The development of the C919 has involved overcoming more than 100 technologies, including integrated design of aircraft engines, flight control systems, active control technology, and refined finite element model analysis of the whole aircraft. Excluding the airborne system, only the sections and components of the large aircraft itself consist of about 1 million small parts in total.
As China’s first passenger aircraft developed according to internationally accepted airworthiness standards and with independent intellectual property rights, the C919 has 158-192 seats and a maximum range of 5,555 km. The development project was established in 2007 and the C919 made its first flight in 2017. After completing all airworthiness certification work in September 2022, it was awarded a certificate by the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The C919 has been developed by COMAC and has accumulated 815 orders from 28 customers.
“I believe that the C919 will have great prospects in the future, and occupy a place in the market together with Airbus and Boeing. General Electric and COMAC have been working very closely and will fully support the C919 to be put into use in the future,” Xiang Weiming, the global vice president of General Electric, assessed during the ongoing 5th China International Import Expo. Xiang said that, according to market estimates, China needs 7,000 to 8,000 new aircrafts in the next 20 years, with an average annual demand of about 400 aircrafts.