Comac ARJ21

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ARJ21 翔凤 Xiangfeng (Soaring Phoenix)
COMAC ARJ21 Gu.jpg
ARJ21-700 in flight at the Zhuhai Air Show (2010).
Role Regional jet
Manufacturer Comac
Designer AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Company (ACAC) and Antonov
First flight 28 November 2008
Status Flight testing
Number built 6
Unit cost
US $20 million as of 2008

The Comac ARJ21 Xiangfeng (Chinese: 翔凤; pinyin: xiángfèng; literally: "Soaring Phoenix")[1] is a twin-engined regional airliner.

Development[edit]

The development of the ARJ21 (Advanced Regional Jet) is a key project in the "10th Five-Year Plan" of China. It began in March 2002 and was led by the government-controlled ACAC consortium. The maiden flight of the ARJ21 was initially planned to take place in 2005 with commercial service beginning 18 months afterwards.[2] The progamme was to become 8 years behind schedule. [3] However, the design work was delayed and the final trial production stage did not begin until June 2006.[4] The first prototype (serial number 101) was rolled out on 21 December 2007 with plans for a maiden flight in March 2008.[1] This was first delayed to 21 September 2008 and finally took place on 28 November 2008 at Shanghai's Dachang Airfield.[5] The aircraft completed a long distance test flight on 15 July 2009, flying from Shanghai to Xi'an in 2 hours 19 minutes, over a distance of 1,300 km. The second ARJ21 (serial number 102) completed the same test flight route on 24 August 2009. The third aircraft (serial number 103) similarly completed its first test flight on 12 September 2009.[6] The fourth aircraft (CN 104) was flying by November 2010. By August 2011, static, flutter and crosswind flight tests had been completed.[7] Deliveries to customers were expected to begin in late 2010, starting with Chengdu Airlines.[8]

The ACAC consortium initially aimed to manufacture 11 ARJ21s a year by 2010, and 30 per year by 2015. In 2009 the consortium was reorganized and became a part of COMAC.[9]

Further delays[edit]

In November 2010, an ARJ21 wing failed to reach the predicted load rating during static testing. The wing's failure then led the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to limit the aircraft’s flight envelope during its flight test program. The new delivery date was then set at the end of 2011.[10]

A COMAC ARJ-21 700

On 19 August 2011, it was reported that the first delivery of the ARJ21 would likely to be delayed by up to a year or more after problems surfaced during the flight testing programme.[11] On 24 August 2011, it was reported that two components of the testing program had not been completed; icing tests were underway but delayed, and stall speed tests had not yet begun. According to an anonymous source within the program, this could lead to delays in obtaining type certification, which could in turn lead to delays in delivery.[7]

On 8 June 2012, A COMAC official told Reuters that ARJ21 was unlikely to get regulatory approval before 2013, without giving an official reason for the 5-year delay. A Reuters investigation suggested that problems with wing cracks, wiring and avionics had contributed to the delay.[12]

Earning a United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification is a precondition for the ARJ21-700 to enter the global aviation market. Since 2003, the aviation authorities of China and the USA had been negotiating the ARJ21-700 application for FAA type certification and shadow certification. As a result, the FAA will accept a type certification application of AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Company’s ARJ21-700 that will be sent by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The FAA also decided to develop a shadow certification for ARJ21-700 under the current standards and established the CAAC Technology Support Office in Shanghai and Beijing. At the meeting, Luo Ronghuai, assistant general manager of AVIC 1 and general manager of ACAC, said ACAC would follow the strict airworthiness standards of the CAAC and FAA.[13]

A scaled-down model of ARJ21-700 in display at Singapore Airshow 2010

On 28 June 2012, the ARJ21-700 travelled at high speed on a specially constructed test lane at Xi'an Yanliang airport. Since 22 June, the aircraft has undergone 10 tests on taxiing, take-off and landing at different speeds on a flooded runway. The tests ensure that the aircraft is able to taxi, take-off and land despite having water on the runway. Since the aircraft entered the validation flight test phase in February 2012, it has been scheduled to undergo 1,500 hours of validation flight tests involving 280 subjects. It has since completed the airspeed calibration, natural icing, engine nacelle anti-icing, crosswind validation tests and is preparing for a stall flight test.[14]

In July 2012, Comac's chief financial officer Tian Min said at the Farnborough Airshow that he expected the aircraft to receive certification from both the US FAA and the Civil Aviation Administration of China in 2013, with the first delivery to launch customer Chengdu Airlines to occur around the end of 2013. He told the press that "The programme is now undergoing certification tests and flights. There have been some problems but that's part of the process and progress is good. There are no serious issues".[15]

Model of an ARJ-21 from Joy Air seen at the Airshow China 2008 in Zhuhai

However, in September 2013, COMAC announced that it hoped the ARJ21-700 would achieve CAAC certification during 2014, and enter service by the end of 2014.[16][17] The launch customer Chengdu Airlines was due to receive its first aircraft by the end of 2011, but ongoing delays in the certification process has caused it to be postponed.[14] After the first production aircraft flew on 18 June 2014, it was announced that production of 2 aircraft was planned for 2014, with 5, 8, 15 and 20 aircraft in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.[3]

Key Flight Tests and CAAC Certification[edit]

ARJ21-700 AC104 of Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) returned to China safely on April 28th, 2014 after completing natural icing flight test successfully in North America. This is the first time for the first turbofan regional jet independently developed by China to fly abroad and carry out flight test in special weather conditions, and meanwhile, ARJ21-700 aircraft has achieved a global flight of 30,000 km across Asia, America, Europe, Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. The success of ARJ21-700 natural icing flight test has verified the flight safety of the aircraft in icing conditions, cleared another obstacle troubling airworthiness certification, and provided an access for China’s civil aircraft to carry out flight test abroad.[18]

ARJ21-700 AC104 successfully completed one flight of supplementary applicant flight test for compliance of airspeed calibration on October 30th, 2014, which led to an entire completion of all flight tests undertaken by AC104 before Type Certification (TC).

Since the first flight on April 13th, 2010, AC104 has undertaken and completed major and difficult flight tests of stall, high-speed characteristic, noise, simulated icing, minimum flight crew, etc., and has realized global flight and natural icing flight test successfully in this year. Over the years, ARJ21-700 AC104 has accumulated 711 flights in 1,442 hours and 23 minutes, and accomplished 468 test points (74 tests) of applicant flight test for compliance and 420 test points (63 tests) of certification flight test. AC104 becomes the first test aircraft which completes all the flight tests before TC.[19]

ARJ21-700 AC105 returned to Yanliang airport at 12:32 on December 16th, 2014 from Xi'an Xianyang International Airport after the last flight for function and reliability flight test, which indicates that the function and reliability flight test of ARJ21-700 aircraft has been completed successfully, and also indicates that all the flight tests before airworthiness certification of the aircraft independently developed by China have been completed successfully.

Function and reliability flight test is the last major special flight test before the issuance of Type Certificate (TC). ARJ21-700 aircraft has conducted the function and reliability flight test strictly in accordance with flight test plan and successfully completed the special inspection of various systems. Since the flight test was officially started on October 29th, AC105 has successively conducted 83 flights in the routes among 10 airports in Chengdu, Guiyang, Guilin, Haikou, Fuzhou, Zhoushan, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Yinchuan and Xianyang to simulate operations in routes. The cumulative flight time was 173 hours and 55 minutes.[20]

The ARJ21-700 advanced regional jet is set to receive its Type Certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) by the end of the year, said a senior executive of the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) on Tuesday, December 23, 2014.[21]

Design[edit]

Comac was accused of copying the MD-80, although ACAC refers to the ARJ21 as "designed by Chinese with completely independent intellectual property rights".[citation needed] Indeed, it reuses the tooling that was provided by McDonnel Douglas for the production under license of the MD80 in China.[22] However, it was believed to be a practice plane since their new plane, the Comac C919 was completely designed by themselves.[23][24][25] The plane features an all-new supercritical wing having a sweepback of 25 degrees and designed by Ukraine’s Antonov Design Bureau. It is fitted with winglets to improve aerodynamic performance.[26][27][28] Antonov also assisted the project with geometrical determination and integral analysis of the construction strength of ARJ21.[26] Some of China's supercomputers have been used to design parts for ARJ21.[29] The first general designer of ARJ21 is Mr. Wu Xingshi, who was also the general designer of Shanghai Y-10, and the current general designer of ARJ21 is Mr. Chen Yong.[citation needed]

In addition to the baseline and the stretched passenger models, ACAC has proposed extended-range, freight, and business jet variants.[citation needed]

Manufacturers[edit]

Members of the ACAC consortium, which was formed to develop the aircraft, will manufacture major components of the aircraft:

Variants[edit]

  • ARJ21-700 – baseline model which will have a capacity of 70 to 95 passengers.
  • ARJ21-900 – stretched fuselage model based on the ARJ-700, which will have a capacity of 95 to 105 passengers.
  • ARJ21F – dedicated freighter version of the ARJ21-700. It will have a capacity of 5 LD7 containers or PIP pallets, with a maximum payload of 10,150 kg.
  • ARJ21B – business jet version of the ARJ21-700. A typical configuration would cater for 20 passengers.

Orders and options[edit]

Entries shaded in pink have been announced, but have not yet signed a firm contract.

Date Airline EIS Type
ARJ21-700 ARJ21-900 ARJ21F ARJ21B TBA Options Rights
September 2003 Shanghai Airlines[31] ? 5
Shandong Airlines[31] ? 10
Shenzhen Financial Leasing[31] ? 20
Shanghai Financial Leasing[31] ? 30
March 2004 Xiamen Airlines[32][33] ? 6
December 2007 Henan Airlines[34][35] ? 100
December 2007 Lao Airlines[36][37] 2011? 2
March 2008 GECAS[38] 2013 5 20
Joy Air[39] ? 50
January 2010 Chengdu Airlines 2011 30
May 2010 Merkukh Enterprises[40] ? 9
June 2011 Myanma Airways ? 2
February 2012 Merpati Nusantara Airlines 2014 40
November 11, 2014 Republic of Congo[41] ? 3
Sub-totals 312 0 0 0 0 20 0
Totals 312 Orders 20

Six ARJ21-700 have been built and service is expected in 2015.

Specifications[edit]

ARJ21-700 ARJ21-900
Cockpit crew Two
Seating capacity 90 (1-class)
78 (2-class)
105 (1-class)
98 (2-class)
Seat pitch 31 in (1-class), 36 & 32 in (2-class)
Length 33.46 m (109 ft 9 in) 36.35 m (119 ft 3 in)
Wingspan 27.28 m (89 ft 6 in)
Wing area 79.86 m2 (859.6 sq ft)
Wing sweepback 25 degrees
Height 8.44 m (27 ft 8 in)
Cabin width 3.14 m (10 ft 4 in)
Cabin height 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
Aisle width 48.3 cm (19.0 in)
Seat width 45.5 cm (17.9 in)
Typical empty weight 24,955 kg (55,016 lb) 26,270 kg (57,920 lb) STD
26,770 kg (59,020 lb) ER
Maximum take-off weight 40,500 kg (89,300 lb) STD
43,500 kg (95,900 lb) ER
43,616 kg (96,157 lb) STD
47,182 kg (104,019 lb) ER
Cargo capacity 20.14 m3 (711 cu ft) -
Take off run at MTOW 1,700 m (5,600 ft) STD
1,900 m (6,200 ft) ER
1,750 m (5,740 ft) STD
1,950 m (6,400 ft) ER
Service ceiling 11,900 m (39,000 ft)
Max. operating speed Mach 0.82 (870 km/h, 470 kn, 541 mph)
Normal cruise speed Mach 0.78 (828 km/h, 447 kn, 514 mph)
Range fully loaded 1,200 NM (2,200 km; 1,400 mi) STD
2,000 NM (3,700 km; 2,300 mi) ER
1,200 NM (2,200 km; 1,400 mi) STD
1,800 NM (3,300 km; 2,100 mi) ER
Maximum fuel load 10,386 kg (22,897 lb) -
Powerplants (2x) General Electric CF34-10A
Engine thrust 17,057 lbf (75,870 N) 18,500 lbf (82,000 N)
  • Notes: Data are provided for reference only. STD = Standard Range, ER = Extended Range
  • Sources: ARJ21 Series,[42] ICAS[43]

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'Flying Phoenix' is China's second homegrown commercial aircraft, the first being the Shanghai Y-10". TheRecord.com. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  2. ^ "China-Made ARJ21 Feeder Plane to Appear at Zhuhai Aviation Show". People's Daily. Retrieved 2002-11-04. 
  3. ^ a b C919 Inches Toward Flight-Testing, ARJ21 Toward Upgrade, Aviationweek, 3. November 2014
  4. ^ "Self-developed jet to fly maiden trip". XINHUA. Retrieved 2006-06-01. 
  5. ^ "China's ARJ21 Regional Jet made first flight". Huanqiu. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  6. ^ "Third Chinese ARJ-21-700 takes off (in Spanish)". CCTV. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  7. ^ a b "China's ARJ21 falls behind on flight test schedule". Flightglobal.com. 24 August 2011. Archived from the original on 28 August 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "China's United Eagle renamed Chengdu Airlines". 
  9. ^ information on COMAC's website (Chinese)
  10. ^ Latest delays due to wing problems Information (English)
  11. ^ "ARJ21 first delivery likely delayed". Flightglobal.com. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Wing cracks, other flaws delay China jet manufacture publisher=Reuters". 8 June 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "FAA to accept type certification on ARJ21-700" 14 (1). Spring 2012. Retrieved Spring 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Comac ARJ21 undergoes water ingestion tests". 29 Jun 2012. Retrieved 29 Jun 2012. 
  15. ^ "FARNBOROUGH: ARJ21 first delivery pushed to end 2013". 11 Jul 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  16. ^ Comac aims to deliver first ARJ21 by end-2014 at flightglobal.com
  17. ^ Chengdu Airlines now hoping to launch ARJ21 operations in late 2014 at ch-aviation.ch
  18. ^ "China-made ARJ21 aircraft completes natural icing flight test and achieves a global flight of 30,000km". 
  19. ^ ARJ21-700 AC104 completes all flight tests before TC (Type Cerification)
  20. ^ ARJ21-700 AC105 completes function and reliability flight test successfully
  21. ^ COMAC ARJ21-700 to Achieve CAAC Certification by Year-End
  22. ^ Clusters and Economic Growth in Asia, Sören Eriksson, page 176
  23. ^ "Xinhua – English". News.xinhuanet.com. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  24. ^ "我国已具备生产大型民用飞机的能力". News.eastday.com. 2007-03-30. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  25. ^ "中国首架自主知识产权新支线飞机-上海频道-东方新闻-东方网". Sh.eastday.com. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  26. ^ a b "Website "Antonov": News". 
  27. ^ "ARJ21-A". AINonline. Archived from the original on 2006-02-04. Retrieved 2006-06-23. 
  28. ^ "Chinese ARJ21-700 Airliner Roll-Out". 
  29. ^ Davis, Bob (23 March 2012), "China's Not-So-Super Computers", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved 25 March 2012 
  30. ^ "COMAC ARJ21 – program supplier guide". Airframer.com. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  31. ^ a b c d "Three carriers place ARJ21 orders". Flight International (Reed Business Information). 2003-09-23. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  32. ^ "ARJ21 orderbook climbs to 41 as Xiamen signs up". Flight International (Reed Business Information). 2004-08-03. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  33. ^ Although the Xiamen order for six was reported in some press as firm, ACAC's own web site still shows them as "options".
  34. ^ "Ceremony inaugurates Chinese jet". Flight International (Reed Business Information). 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  35. ^ AVIC announced a new order for 100 planes from Kunpeng Airlines, a Sino-US joint venture, raising the total number of orders to date to 170.
  36. ^ "Building a future: The AVIC I ARJ21-700 programme". Flight International (Reed Business Information). 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  37. ^ By: K.K. Chadha. "China lays plans for ARJ21-900". AINonline. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  38. ^ "GE Commercial Aviation Services Announces Purchase of Five ARJ21-700ER Regional Jet Aircraft from Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, LTD (COMAC); Options for Additional 20 Aircraft". R. 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  39. ^ "China Eastern, AVIC I launch Joy Air". Flight International (Reed Business Information). 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  40. ^ "China exporting ARJ21s and other aircraft to Indonesia". Flightglobal.com. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  41. ^ The Republic of Congo announces to order three ARJ21-700 aircraft
  42. ^ "ARJ21 Series page". 
  43. ^ ARJ21-700 Specifications at icas.org

External links[edit]