Flying Phoenix finally flies
The Chinese-built ARJ21 regional jet has made its first flight.
The Xinhua news agency reported that the hour-long maiden flight took place at 12.23pm from the Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory where the aircraft was rolled out late last year.
The 90-seat ARJ21-700 - named "Xiang Feng" or "Flying Phoenix" - is powered by two General Electric CF34 engines and has received 208 orders from Chinese airlines and leasing companies.
Test pilot, Zhao Peng said: "The jet was normal and the flight was smooth," although reports say the aircraft only flew to an altitude of 3,000 feet (900 metres) during the flight.
Hu Haiyin, Party secretary of COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd) said that deliveries of the aircraft would begin in less than 18 months following flight trials and certification.
He said that COMAC has rolled out six ARJ21 aircraft so far, all of which are undergoing flight tests and added that COMAC is currently capable of producing 20 ARJ21 jets a year. COMAC had planned to make the first flight by March. But delays in suppliers meeting safety requirements had slowed the project down.
Shanghai Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Kunpeng Airlines, Joy Air have all ordered the type while leasing companies, Shenzhen Financial Leasing, GECAS have also made purchases.
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