The first Chinese commercial aircraft the ACAC ARJ21 has made its maiden flight on Friday. After 6 years of research and development, it’s finally taken to the skies. The first test flight lasted about one hour.
Although ACAC refers to the ARJ21 as “designed by Chinese with completely independent intellectual property rights”, it is being built using tooling which was originally provided by the McDonnell Douglas company for licence-production of the MD-90 in China. Consequently, it bears a strong resemblance to the DC-9 series of aircraft, with an identical cabin cross section, nose profile and tail. The all-new wing, which is fitted with winglets to improve aerodynamic performance, has been designed by Ukraine’s Antonov Design Bureau.
The program is supported by 19 major European and US aerospace components suppliers, including General Electric (engine production), Honeywell (Fly-By-Wire system) and Rockwell Collins (avionics production).
Its maker hopes to have the aircraft ready for delivery by 2010.