Maiden flight of first China-made passenger plane important in aviation industry

The C919, built by state-owned aerospace manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), was set to take wing over Shanghai and could be cleared for takeoff as early as Friday, according to state media.

China's first homegrown narrow-body passenger jet, the C919, took off from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport on its maiden test flight on Friday.

Comac said it has already received orders for 570 planes from around 23 customers, mostly Chinese carriers, including the country's main China Eastern Airlines.

When the much-delayed C919 program was launched in 2008, the maiden flight was originally scheduled for 2014 followed by first delivery to Chengdu Airlines.

The C919 aircraft is a large civil jet aircraft independently developed by China in accordance with global civil aviation regulations. It can carry up to 158 passengers and has a range of 4,075 kilometers.

That's the plan. China's aviation officials are pushing for bilateral agreements on airworthiness with USA and European regulators by the end of 2017 to pave the way for domestically produced aircraft such as the C919 to be flown in those markets.

China's first amphibious aircraft, stated to be the largest in the world, successfully conducted its first glide test on April 29 in Chinese city of Zhuhai and braced for its maiden flight.

Airbus has estimated Chinese airlines will need almost 6,000 new planes over the next two decades, while Boeing foresees 6,800 aircraft.

What do we know about the new plane?

The C919 incorporates parts from over 30 global suppliers such as Honeywell International Inc.

People in China, though, are cheering the successful first flight.

After achieving economic growth from low-end manufacturing, the government is pushing a new "Made in China 2025" agenda that aims to make China's domestic output more sophisticated with high added value in areas such as robotics, biotechnology and aviation.

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that the second C-919, which is now being assembled at Comac's plant in Pudong, is likely to undergo testing in the second half of this year.

The jet was built in 2015 and COMAC completed the onboard systems installation as well as major static and system integration tests before the technical assessment.

The C919 is created to be a direct competitor to Boeing's 737 and the Airbus A320.

COMAC is already looking beyond the C919, with plans to develop a wide-body long-haul jet with Russian Federation.

The jet was designed and produced in China and made with resources from around the world. "For Honeywell, which has invested heavily in China's aviation industry, we are picking the victor", said Steven Lien, president of Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific.

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