Development of Chinese large aircraft to restructure Int'l airline market

17:49, February 02, 2010      

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A model of C919 made by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China is displayed.(CNS photo by Yuanzhou)

By 2016, China's first independent engine will be completed and begin to drive the whole industry chain to develop simultaneously. Chinese large aircraft program has arrived at the start line.

The first Chinese large aircraft is expected to take off for the first time in 2014 before its navigability is certified in 2016. This year saw the beginning of orders being placed.

Chinese large aircraft must have "Chinese heart"

"If we compare aircraft manufacturing to a crown, then the engine development could be the pearl on the crown; it is quite difficult to develop the engine" said Liu Daxiang, member of China Engineering Academy and famous expert on aeronautical dynamics.

According to Liu, the dynamic problem is the key point to decide the large aircraft program's success or failure. Dynamic is the "heart" of equipment, and finally China's large aircraft must have "Chinese heart".

On Nov. 3 last year, a model of the first homegrown engine matching C919, future Chinese large aircraft, showed up at the 2009 China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, signifying China's important steps on the process of home-made large aircraft. The engine, numbered SF-A, is a kind of high bypass ratio turbofan engine with thrust between 12,000 and 13,000 kilograms.

China's large aircraft program is continues by the book

On the press release for the Aviation Expo/China 2009 (13th Expo), the first home-made large aircraft appeared before the public. Chen Jin, the head of the marketing department for the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC), said the plane was officially named C919, it has 168 standard configuration seats, and expected to take off for the first time in 2014 before its navigability is certified in 2016; in 20 years, the annual production of large airliners and regional aircraft will be 150 and 50 respectively.

The large aircraft are usually cargo aircraft which can take off with a weight over 100 tons. They include large military and civilian planes and trunk liners with more than 150 seats. As of now, only America, 4 European countries and Russia are capable of making such large aircraft, and the international airline market has been dominated by Boeing of America and Airbus of Europe.

Now, China's aviation industry has the technological and material ability to make large aircraft. The State Council has approved the development of the large aircraft program in February 2007 and agreed to set up a large aircraft corporation. By March 2009, the "primary general technical scheme" of the large aircraft's developing had been finished.

International aviation market to be restructured

Wu Guanghui, the vice general manager of COMAC and the chief designer of large scale airliner, said Airbus and Boeing begin with letter of "A" and "B", while C919 beginning with letter of "C", which means China's big plane could also be strong on the international aviation market, and a new structure of "ABC" will be formed in future.

China has become the second biggest airline market for civilian use following U.S., during the period of "11th five-year plan", passenger capacity of airliners increased by 95 percent. By 2015, more than 2,000 aircraft will be needed in China. Chen Jin said the homegrown large aircraft will have a great advantage compared with other similar airliners, because C919's fuel consumption will be 12 percent to 15 percent less than its competitors.

According to Wu Guanghui, orders began being placed last year. Comac expects to build about 2,000 C919s over 20 years, and hopes to secure 10 percent of the global market

By People's Daily Online
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