Comac's C919 has made good progress with high-speed taxi tests and could make its maiden sortie in the first week of May, sources tell FlightGlobal.
Aircraft 101 has conducted three high-speed taxi tests, where no major issues surfaced. A fourth test, involving a high-speed ground run to the point of a nose-gear lift-off, is scheduled for 23 April, they add.
"Once the nose wheel can be lifted with no issues, then the aircraft will proceed to first flight. The jet is basically ready for a first flight. There are no major issues," says the source. Another source adds that Comac will do at least two nose-gear lift-offs before first flight.
They add that the aircraft encountered some braking and electric power issues when it first started taxi tests, but that these have been resolved.
Earlier this week, Comac said the CFM International Leap-1C-powered aircraft will be able to fly once it completes high-speed taxi tests. It did not, however, provide a timeframe.
Comac was previously aiming for a first flight in 2016, but this was later pushed to the first quarter of 2017. State-owned China Eastern Airlines will be the first operator of the jet.