On Wednesday, June 8 the first prototype of Russia’s new generation MC-21 narrow-body was officially rolled out at Irkut Corporation’s plant in Irkutsk. The first aircraft will be used for flight-testing. Russian Prime-Minister Dmitriy Medvedev, who attended the ceremony, announced that the maiden flight will take place next year.
The first prototype is a base modification of MC-21-300 model, which will seat from 163 to 211 passengers in different cabin configurations. The model’s maximum take-off weight is projected at 79,250 kg, and flight range – at 6000 km.
The second MC-21 prototype is already in the works at the Irkutsk-based plant. According to the plant’s lean production director Sergey Yamenov, the second aircraft will be assembled by the end of the summer and will be used for static tests. In September the aircraft is scheduled to arrive at TsAGI (Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute), where the tests will be conducted.
Three more test aircraft are at different stages of production. One of these will participate in the flight test program, and the other two – in static and endurance testing.
The first prototype is equipped with Pratt & Whitney’s PW1400G engines, freshly certified by the FAA in May this year. Russian certification of the MC-21-300 with the PW1400 is scheduled for 2018 with the EASA certification to follow in 2019.
An alternative powerplant for the aircraft is the Russian-made PD-14. Its flight testing on the wing of an Ilyushin Il-76 flying laboratory began in the fall of 2015. On June 1 it accumulated 1000 hours of ground and flight testing. The second stage of flight tests is scheduled for this July. According to the engine’s designer, the United Engine Corporation (UEC) the first five engines for the MC-21 testing will be delivered in 2017. The PD-14’s Russian certification is slated for 2018. UEC’s president Yuriy Slyusar said that the first deliveries of the PD-14-equipped MC-21s are planned for 2019.
The MC-21 family also includes the shortened МС-21-200 modification with 132-165 seats. Its fuselage is 8.5 m shorter than the MC-21-300’s, it will have the MTOW of 72,560 kg and range of 6400 km. The design documentation for this version is currently elaborated by Yakovlev Engineering Center.
Irkut’s backlog for the MC-21 has 175 firm orders from Avia Capital Services (85 aircraft, including 50 for Aeroflot), Ilyushin Finance Co. (50 aircraft), VEB-Leasing (30 aircraft) and IrAero Airlines (10 aircraft). There are also Letters of Intent for over 100 aircraft in place.
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