Irkut reported the first flight lasted 1 hour and 7 minutes, at an altitude of up to 3,000 m (9,842 ft.) at a speed of up to 400 km per hour (249 mph).
The flight program included aircraft testing for stability and controllability in various wing configurations, with folded and extended landing gear, as well as checks for onboard equipment.
The new aircraft is expected to speed up the MC-21 trials as the manufacturer plans to get the Russian certification in a year, in mid-2019.
This flight test aircraft became the third airframe of the type. Besides the first flight prototype, one more aircraft is used for ground tests in Russia’s TsAGI Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute in Zhukovsky, near Moscow.
The first prototype moved from Irkutsk to Zhukovsky in October 2017 where it started certification trials. Irkut reports that flight tests prove the design solutions. The MC-21 has already been tested for stability and controllability, for takeoff and landing parameters and for recovery from deep roll. The aircraft’s PW 1400G-JM engines have been tested for various operation modes including inflight relight.
Three more prototypes are being assembled in Irkutsk along with the preparations for serial production.
The MC-21 backlog now stands at 175 firm orders, mostly from the Russian leasing companies. The country’s largest carrier Aeroflot is expected to be the major operator of this type. It has an order for 50 aircraft through Avia Capital Services, a leasing arm of Rostec Corp., and is to take the first delivery in early 2020.
The MC-21-300 will carry 163 to 211 passengers for a distance of 6,000 km. It will be initially powered by a pair of PW1400G-JM engines, but the Russian PD-14 will be an alternative engine.