The first flying prototype of the Russian new narrow-body MC-21-300 program has reached the power-on stage. The testing of the electrical system began on the first prototype of the aircraft, which is being prepared for flight tests. Frequency response tests are scheduled for December, as well as flight management system and landing gear tests.
According to the schedule, in January or February next year the protype is to be delivered to the flight testing facility, where the final pre-flight system tests will be conducted in preparation for the maiden flight. The aircraft is scheduled to take to the sky for the first time in February or early March next year.
The second test prototype is currently undergoing a set of tests at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI). The institute has recently completed model flutter tests, and now it is testing the actual aircraft’s composite wing performance and conducting airframe fatigue tests.
In the meantime Irkutsk Aviation Plant is assembling the fuselage of the third flying prototype and expects to complete the assembly before the end of the year.
Reporting on the program’s updates to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, vice prime minister Dmitriy Rogozin emphasized that the fourth prototype, which will also take part in the flight testing program will be powered by a Russian engine PD-14. Five powerplants have been built this year, their flight testing is underway.
The MC-21-300 with Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM is expected to receive type certificate in 2018. In September the aircraft’s producer Irkut filed an application for validation of the type certificate by EASA.
The OEM estimates the global demand for MC-21 to reach 980 airframes by 2035. In the summer the backlog for the aircraft included 175 firm orders and over 100 options.
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