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PDF Russian Aviation & Military Guide, 2017
Russian Aviation & Military Guide 05(12) June, 2017
The Historical Day

The Historical Day

In the Russian city of Irkutsk was the first flight of MC-21 aircraft. For the Russian aircraft industry and the Russian industry as a whole it was a truly historic day. A large-scale program of development of new Russian civil aircraft family is developing successfully.

On 28 May, 2017, the maiden flight of MC-21-300 commercial aircraft took place at the airfield of Irkutsk Aviation Plant, the affiliate of Irkut Corporation (a UAC member). The duration of the flight was 30 minutes at the altitude of 1000 meters, at the speed of 300 km/hour. The flight plan included checking of in-flight stability and controllability, and also the controllability of the power plant. According to the program, during the flight a simulated landing approach was performed, followed by a flight over the runway, climbing and turning. This technique is typical for the maiden flight of new types of aircraft.

The aircraft was piloted by the crew commander Oleg Kononenko, test pilot, the Hero of Russia, and the copilot Roman Taskayev, test-pilot, The Hero of Russia. Oleg Kononenko reported: Flight mission is accomplished. The flight went in the normal mode. There are no obstacles revealed preventing the tests continuation.

Roman Taskayev noted, that 'characteristics and operational modes of the power plant are confirmed, all aircraft systems operated without glitches.

Oleg Demchenko, the President of Irkut Corporation, stated: Ttoday is the historic day for our personnel and the whole big team, which works on creation of MC-21 aircraft. We put the most advanced technical solutions in our aircraft, to provide enhanced comfort for passengers and attractive economic characteristics for air carriers. I am happy to declare the maiden flight of the MC-21 aircraft has been successfully accomplished. I congratulate all project participants on our common holiday!'

Yury Slyusar, the President of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), stressed, 'MC-21 is created in a wide cooperation, where together with Irkut, other enterprises of the United Aircraft Corporation are actively participating, namely Aerocomposite company, Ulyanovsk and Voronezh aircraft plants, UAC Integration Center in Moscow. This is an important stage in the formation of the new UAC industrial model. According to our estimates, the global demand in the MC-21 segment will be about 15,000 new aircraft in the next 20 years. I'm sure the airlines will appreciate our new aircraft.

MC-21-300 new generation aircraft with capacity of 163 to 211 passengers targets the most massive segment of aviation market. MC-21 aircraft provides passengers with the qualitatively new level of comfort, due to the biggest fuselage diameter in the category of narrow-body aircraft. This design decision significantly widens private space of each passenger, ensures free passage of passenger and service trolley over the aisle, and shortens airport turnover time. Natural lighting of the passenger cabin is enhanced due to big windows. Comfortable air pressure and advanced microclimate will be maintained in the aircraft.

MC-21 aircraft features an innovative ergonomic pilot cabin.

High demands for comfort and economic effectiveness of the aircraft pushed forward introduction of advanced technical solutions in aerodynamics, engine-building, and avionics.

MC-21 aircraft is superior to existing counterparts in terms of flight-technical characteristics and efficiency. The best Russian and international companies participating in MC-21 program fully comply with their obligations, while introducing their most advanced design solutions.

The major contributor to the enhancement of flight-technical characteristics of the aircraft is the wing made of polymer composite materials, the first-in-the-word one developed for narrow-body aircraft with the capacity of over 130 passengers. The share of composites in MC-21 design exceeding 30% is the unique for this category of aircraft.

For the first time in the history of Russian aircraft manufacturing, the airliner is offered to the customers with two options of power plant PW1400G of Pratt & Whitney Company (USA) or PD-14 of United Engine Corporation (Russia). New-generation engines feature reduced fuel consumption, low noise and hazardous emissions. MC-21 aircraft meets prospective environmental requirements. Calculated reduction of direct operational costs for MC-21 is 12-15% lower than for counterparts. The initial portfolio of firm orders for 175 MC-21 aircraft provides utilization of production capacity in the coming years. All firm contracts are prepaid.

Technically, the MC-21 employs many innovative technologies. Its airframe features fuselage made of Aluminum-Lithium and other advanced metallic alloys using state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment from Broetje, Durr, Premium Aerotec, Demag, Hymer and other European firms. The share of composite materials in the MC-21 structural weight is at 40-45% compared to 10-15% for the previous generation. Composite parts for the aircraft are supplied by the recently erected factories in Ulianovsk and Kazan run by the AeroComposite company. These parts are made using the revolutionary technology of vacuum infusion (developed jointly with Hexcel, Diamond, FACC AG and other western firms). This provides a sharp contrast to all other makers, including Airbus and Boeing: these continue to rely on the classic manufacturing methods that necessitate use of big, expensive autoclaves.

The all-composite wing is notably lighter than metallic, and contributes 8% to the MC-21s combined 20% better fuel efficiency over in-service aircraft. To make 20-meter-long wing consoles, AeroComposite uses an automated system to lay down a pre-form as a set of twenty four carbon bents each 6mm wide. Then it goes into so-called vacuum sack. Where, the binding substance is being applied. Firming up is done in a special heating device (different to typical autoclave as it develops lower temperatures). The manufacturer asserts than no other technology makes it possible to manufacture the wing of that aspect ratio with given lift/drag and weight efficiency.

Gambling on such promising technologies as the vacuum infusion seems inevitable for a manufacturer which is seeking to achieve a substantial boost in flight and cost performance in the domain of narrow body jets. The new technology promises substantial cuts in manufacturing costs. Even though it is yet to be declared mature enough for mass production, AeroComposite has already manufactured several sets of composite parts for testing and operable prototypes.

MC-21-300 Flight Performance

Two-class layout capacity
163 seats (16 business + 147 economy)
Dense layout capacity
211 seats
Maximum takeoff weight
79,250 kg
Maximum payload
22,600 kg
Maximum flight range
6,000 km
Dimensions
Length
42.2 m
Wing span
35.9 m
Height
11.5 m

MC-21-300 new generation aircraft with capacity of 163 to 211 passengers targets the most massive segment of aviation market. MC-21 aircraft provides passengers with the qualitatively new level of comfort, due to the biggest fuselage diameter in the category of narrow-body aircraft. This design decision significantly widens private space of each passenger, ensures free passage of passenger and service trolley over the aisle, and shortens airport turnover time. Natural lighting of the passenger cabin is enhanced due to big windows. Comfortable air pressure and advanced microclimate will be maintained in the aircraft.

For the first time in the history of Russian aircraft manufacturing, the airliner is offered to the customers with two options of power plant PW1400G of Pratt & Whitney Company (USA) or PD-14 of United Engine Corporation (Russia). New-generation engines feature reduced fuel consumption, low noise and hazardous emissions. MC-21 aircraft meets prospective environmental requirements. Calculated reduction of direct operational costs for MC-21 is 12-15% lower than for counterparts. The initial portfolio of firm orders for 175 MC-21 aircraft provides utilization of production capacity in the coming years. All firm contracts are prepaid.

The major contributor to the enhancement of flight-technical characteristics of the aircraft is the wing made of polymer composite materials, the first-in-the-word one developed for narrow-body aircraft with the capacity of over 130 passengers. The share of composites in MC-21 design exceeding 30% is the unique for this category of aircraft.
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