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Flight-test PD-14 engines edge towards MC-21 installation

Flight-testing of the Irkut MC-21 with the Russian-built Aviadvigatel PD-14 engine is set to commence next year, although the initial powerplants have yet to be moved to the assembly line.

Two PD-14s have formally been transferred to Irkut but are still located at the Perm Motors manufacturing facility.

Perm Motors says another pair of engines will be assembled before the end of this year and similarly transferred, while a fifth engine is being built as a back-up to "avoid delays" in the flight-test programme.

Irkut, Aviadvigatel and Perm Motors held meetings in September to discuss the final installation process for the PD-14 at the Irkutsk assembly line.

These discussions aimed to address such issues as the timing of installation and the maintenance of the engines during flight-testing.

Perm Motors says that some additional assembly of the PD-14 will take place, notably the fitting of the engine in the nacelle and the installation of the thrust-reversers, received from other manufacturers.

Voronezh-based plant VASO produces the nacelles while Mashinostroitel, located in Perm, builds the reverser system.

The engine will then be fitted to the MC-21 pylons enabling the aircraft to be moved to the flight-test division, initially to undergo ground testing before carrying out its maiden sortie and eventually being flown to Moscow Zhukovsky for the certification campaign.

"It was challenging to create the engine but even more so to put it into operation, and organise technical support and aftersales service," says Perm Motors managing director Sergei Popov.

He says the PD-14 is embarking on "one of the most important stages" and expects the engine "soon" to be fitted to the first MC-21 to carry the powerplant.

Popov adds that companies involved in PD-14 production are working to increase the engine's reliability and that the flight-testing will enable their specialists to obtain experience and understanding which will be used to refine technical support processes for airlines operating the MC-21.

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