EASA test team completes the initial session of MC-21 certification flights

MC-21 Behaviour of the Russia’s advanced narrow-body twin jet was evaluated in various modes (Irkut)

The flight test team of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has completed the first flight testing session of Russia’s advanced MC-21-300 narrow-body twin jet certification campaign. Participation of EASA in the testing of the new aircraft is a prerequisite to its final validation by the European agency.

During the certification tests, the behaviour of the MC-21-300 was evaluated in various modes, including high angles of attack and stalling. Flights of durations from 2.5 to four hours were performed at altitudes ranging from three to 10 km.

The new Russian civil aircraft was under the control of an EASA test pilot, with a counterpart from the Yakovlev Design Bureau (a branch of Irkut Corporation) monitoring the performance of flight modes. Flight crew also included Russian and EASA flight test engineers who analysed current flight parameters.

Prior to obtaining permission to fly on the MC-21, two test pilots and an EASA flight test engineer completed theoretical and practical training procedures in September 2018.

“The completion of the first session of certification flights by the EASA crew is an important stage in the development of the MC-21 programme,” notes Denis Manturov, Russia’s minister for industry and trade. He adds that the participation of EASA representatives in flight tests is a continuation of the large joint work effort being carried out by specialists from the Russian aviation authorities, the European Aviation Safety Agency, as well as industrial enterprises, a statement from aircraft manufacturer UAC explains. “Obtaining the European certificate will open the international market for the MC-21-300,” the government minister points out.

The overall certification and approvals process for the MC-21 has been postponed recently, with tests of the first variant of the airliner, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines, now scheduled to complete in the second half of 2020. The aircraft’s entry into service date was previously set for 2019.

The MC-21 is Russia’s advanced narrow-body airliner project that is being developed by the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which is now part of Rostec, and is sponsored directly with funds from the Russian federal budget. A total of 10.5 billion roubles (US$160 million) of state subsidies will be additionally available within the next three years for the new aircraft’s development.

According to a report published in the autumn of 2018 by Russia’s Audit Chamber, some 158 billion roubles has already been allocated to the development of the MC-21. Up to 2025, the total cost of the programme is now estimated at 437.4 billion roubles and may increase even further.

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