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ARJ21 completes majority of ground tests

Chinese airframer Comac has completed 80.5% of the 292 scheduled ground tests for its ARJ21 regional jet programme.

The aircraft is now undergoing fatigue tests, which examines how the aircraft structure responds to operational loads over a period of time, on one of its ARJ21-700 test aircraft, says Comac.

Static tests and bird strike tests have also been completed.

Comac has six test aircraft undergoing both ground and flight tests. The four flying jets have accumulated 1,300 flights totalling 2,800 flight hours.

At Airshow China in Zhuhai last week, Comac also revealed that the ARJ21 will have at least five variants. These are the ARJ21-700 baseline model with 70 to 90 seats, the stretched model, the shrunk model, a freighter version as well as a business jet version.

The ARJ21 is the first regional jet programme that China is designing and developing in accordance with international airworthiness regulations. It will also be seeking certification from both the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the US Federal Aviation Administration.

The ARJ21, originally scheduled to enter into service in 2007, has however met with several rounds of delays because of the airframer's inexperience in both aircraft manufacturing and certification. The aircraft is now likely to receive certification from the CAAC in the first half of 2013 and is likely to deliver the jet to launch customer Chengdu Airlines in 2014.

Comac has so far garnered 252 orders for the ARJ21.

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