Feb. 9, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Russia’s Irkut designed a mainline jet to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families that, from a passenger experience
viewpoint, is the best in class.
The MC-21 has a wider fuselage than the A320 (which is wider than the 737). Seats and the aisle are the widest in the class. The overhead bin space is plentiful.
But the airplane is hampered by its environment: Russia itself.
Feb. 6, 2017, © Leeham Co.: China’s effort to become a viable commercial aerospace alternative was filled with rocky fits and starts for its two signature airliner programs, the AVIC ARJ-21 and the COMAC C919.
COMAC, a spin off from AVIC and yet another government-controlled entity, is already casting eyes on a 250-seat, twin-aisle design, the C929—ostensibly in a joint venture with Russia’s United Aircraft Corp.
The ARJ-21 regional jet finally entered service after delays of eight years. The C919 target EIS is now 2019, six years after the original date. The first flight hasn’t even taken place.
Chinese officials set a target EIS for the C929 of 2026.
A rough road remains ahead for each program.
January 06, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Before we finish of our series on airliner turbofan technology, let’s spend this Corner on what will happen on the airliner engine front during 2017.
While there is no totally new engine that comes into the market during 2017 there are a number of new variants of existing engine families that will be introduced.
If we start with the engines for regional/single aisle aircraft and then climb the thrust scale, we will cover the engines in climbing thrust class.
Nov. 15, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Government subsidies to commercial aircraft companies appear to be increasing despite the 12-year disputes before the World Trade Organization between Europe and the US over Airbus and Boeing aid.
Yet the US and Europeans appear to be doing little to try and curb the subsidies to new competitors.
October 21, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: In our Corners on East bloc aeronautical industries, we could see that the hardest part to master in a new civilian airliner is the engine.
Both new airliners from Russia and China (Irkut MC-21 and COMAC C919) start their lives with Western engines.
Why is this so? What are the challenges that make engines harder to create than aircraft?
We will spend several Corners on the main reasons that airliner engines are harder to do than aircraft. Read more
By Bjorn Fehrm
October 19, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus delivered its 10,000 aircraft last week (Figure 1), an A350-900 delivered to Singapore Airlines.
Delivering the 10,000 aircraft after 50 years of start of project is impressive, especially as the competition, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), the late McDonnell Douglas Corp and Lockheed Co, fought Airbus every step of the way.
We have a new player starting its 50 years, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, COMAC. It’s on its eighth year and the competitions’ sentiments are: “It will take long before they can compete, decades!”
Let’s compare with the rise of Airbus and see what can be learned. Will COMAC deliver its 10,000th aircraft in 50 years? Or in a shorter time? Read more
September 30, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: In our Corners on East bloc aeronautical industries, we will now look at the Chinese civil aircraft industry.
The Chinese aero industry has similarities with the Russian industry in its overall structure. From the start of the industry in the 1950s, it was structured after the Soviet model of research institutes, design bureaus and production companies.
The difference to the Soviet Union was that its own Chinese aircraft designs only started in the 1970s. Before that, the industry built Soviet designs on license and then modified versions of licensed designs.
The first own aircraft designs were presented in the 1980s with a focus on military designs for the first 20 years. Read more
By Bjorn Fehrm
September 29, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: We will now finish our series about the Russian-Chinese wide-body with looking at who will have what role in the program.
As we described in the initial article, “Background and outlook,” Russia and China have vastly different competencies when it comes to making a state of the art wide-body aircraft.
Russia has made airliners since the 1930s, including wide-body jets. China did not design its own jet aircraft (military or civil) until the mid-1980s. Most of the aircraft produced still today in China have their origin in Russian designs.
At the same time, we saw in the article about the market demand for the aircraft that the Chinese market is 90% of the home market. This makes for China demanding important parts of the aircraft’s production, and China has the money to invest in production facilities.
All this will influence how different parts of the project will be shared between Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).
September 23, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: In our Corners on East bloc aeronautical industries, we now look at the main Russian civil aircraft engine companies. As with the aircraft side, there is one overall Russian engine company since 2008, United Engine Corporation (UEC), Figure 1.
This is a state-owned holding which incorporates 80%of the gas turbine engine companies from the Soviet times, employing 80,000 people.
The aim is to coordinate and optimize Russia’s engineering and production resources around present and future gas turbine engines for Aeronautical, Naval and Stationary use.
Soviet and Russian engines have historically been named after their chief designer in the design bureau. We will now describe the main entities in UEC that work with airliner engines. Read more
By Bjorn Fehrm
September 19, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: In Part 4 of the article series, we put together an assumed complete Chinese-Russian wide-body aircraft with fuselage, wing, engines, etc. It is now time to understand what kind of performance that can be expected, given the data we have from the wide-body partners, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).
We will combine these data with the ones we have deduced as plausible to fill the gaps, given the time frame and technology level that UAC and COMAC intend to use.
Out will come a first estimate of what kind of performance such an aircraft can have in terms of efficiency and payload versus range capability.