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Comac completes C919 ground tests as first flight looms

Comac has completed the final ground test before its C919 narrowbody can take to the skies.

On 23 April, the Chinese manufacturer conducted a high-speed ground run to the point of a nose-gear lift-off, before the pilots applied the brakes and brought the aircraft to a stop.

This is a crucial test which evaluates the safe performance of the aircraft at high ground speed and also verifies the rotation speed of the aircraft, says Comac.

The airframer also received a special flight permit from the Civil Aviation Administration of China on 22 April, as well as a temporary civil aircraft registration and an aircraft station licence. The flight permit and the station licence both expire on 31 May, a clear sign that Comac is confident of a C919 maiden sortie next month.

Sources told FlightGlobal on 21 April that Comac wants the aircraft to fly in the first week of May. FlightGlobal understands that a ceremony with about 2,000 guests will be held near Shanghai Pudong International airport's fourth runway to witness the flight.

The C919 encountered some braking and electric power issues when it first started taxi tests, but these were resolved relatively quickly, the sources said.

Comac was initially targeting for a C919 first flight in 2016. China Eastern Airlines will be the launch operator of the 156-seat aircraft.

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