The second prototype of the Russian-built MC-21-300 aircraft made its first flight on Saturday, roughly one year after the first prototype first flew. The aircraft (currently registered as 73053) took off from Irkut Corp’s airfield in eastern Siberia.
The one hour, seven minute flight included tests of the plane’s stability and controllability under a variety of wing configurations and with the landing gear either retracted or extended. Several on-board features were also tested.
The aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 3000 meters (9842.5 feet) and a speed of 400 km/h.
“The flight of the second aircraft is a significant milestone that will ensure the timely progression of flight certification tests,” said Denis Manturov, the acting Minister of the Russian Federation’s Industry of Trade.
Though this is the second MC-21-300 to fly, it is the third to be involved in testing. In addition to the two aircraft involved with flight testing, on plane is completing static tests at Russia’s Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI).
“Three more prototypes are currently in production at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant. In parallel with the flight and static tests, active preparations are now being held for the deployment of serial production of the new airliner,” Manturov said.
The first MC-21-300 is continuing flight testing at Gromov Flight Research Institute’s airfield in Zhukovsky, which is near Moscow. The plane has been undergoing tests for controllability and stability, normal takeoff and landing characteristics, the operation of power sources, and recovery from deep bank situations.
Strength tests are being carried out at TsAGI. Composite wing box tests have confirmed strength for flights operated on the limit of the type.
“In recent years, the Russian aviation industry has undergone a profound modernisation. The most modern scalable assembly line for the newest civil airliners was commissioned at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant,” said UAC and Irkut president Yuri Slyusar. “Within the UAC, fundamentally new competencies have been developed in the field of production of structures from polymer composite materials. Their widespread use is one of the main advantages of the aircraft. The new high-tech production will ensure the development of the MC-21 program and other perspective aviation projects.”
There are currently 175 firm orders for the MC-21-300, which are mostly from Russian leasing companies. Aeroflot, who has 50 orders for the type through Avía Capital services is expected to be the largest operator of the type. Deliveries to the airline will start in 2020.
The MC-21-300 will be able to carry between 163 and 211 passengers up to 6000km. It is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM engines, with PD-14s as an alternative.