MC-21 and C919 compared. Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 15, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We continued the comparison of Irkut’s MC-21 and COMAC’s C919 last week with an analysis of the cabins and systems. The week before, we compared project time plans, structures and aerodynamics.

Now we finish with an analysis of the economics of the aircraft.

Summary:
  • The MC-21 is the more advanced aircraft of the two. It uses carbon composites for the wings and empennage.
  • Coupled with more refined aerodynamics, the MC-21 offers a higher efficiency than the more classical C919.

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MC-21 and C919 compared. Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction 

June 08, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We started the comparison of Irkut’s MC-21 and COMAC’s C919 last week. We compared project time plans, structures and aerodynamics.

Now we continue with the comparison of cabin capacities and systems.

Summary:

  • The C919 cabin is a slightly longer copy of the Airbus A320 cabin. MC-21 sets new standards for cabins in the single aisle segment.
  • Both aircraft use Western systems to ease development and improve in-service reliability.

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MC-21 and C919 compared

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Note: With the first flight of the Irkut MC-21 in the weekend, we move the Qantas Ultra Long Haul article Part 2 to a later date.

Introduction 

June 01, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Irkut’s MC-21 and COMAC’s C919 both completed their first flights during last month. Both are new competitors in the market’s hottest segment, that for 150 to 240 seats.

They both challenge the present rulers: Airbus’ A320 and Boeing’s 737 MAX.  We made first analysis of the aircraft against their Western competition here, here and here.

We now dig deeper with a direct comparison between the MC-21 and C919 projects.

Summary:

  • In the first article, we compare the projects, the structural concepts and the aerodynamics of the MC-21 and C919.
  • Follow up articles will compare systems, cabins and overall performance for the aircraft.

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Aeroflot, the route to a modern airline. Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 26, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: In our third article about Aeroflot, we cover the period from 2010 to today. During this period, Aeroflot started a strategic change. The airline decided to grow to a global world leader.

To get there, the group needed a multi-brand strategy. The top brand, Aeroflot, should develop into a top tier premium airline. To understand the considerable changes Aeroflot needed to go trough for this strategy, we talked to Aeroflot’s Deputy CEO Strategy and Alliances, Giorgio Callegari, about the transformation.

Callegari took us through the journey to a Four-star airline and the ranking of Aeroflot as the world strongest airline brand in its area of operation. To validate the improved ratings, we contacted Skytrax and Brand Finance, the issuers of the ratings. Read more

Aeroflot, the route to a modern airline, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 19, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: In our second article about Aeroflot, the Soviet Union flag carrier that transformed to a modern airline, we will cover the period from the fall of the Soviet Union until 2010.

This was the difficult period for all participants. The old structures no longer existed and were replaced with… nothing, followed by uncertainty and a long struggle to get back to normal.

Figure 1. IL-96-300, a Soviet long range aircraft which stayed in the Aeroflot fleet until 2014. Source: Aeroflot.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engines, sum up

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 14, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We’ve been talking engines on Fridays since October 2016. The Corners covered several areas, from technologies to operations.

And we could go on and dig deeper. But we will move on.

Before we go, we sum up what we have learned in the 24 Corners around airliner Turbofans.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a three-shaft wide-body turbofan. Source: GasTurb.

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Irkut MC-21 missing ultimate load test

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 05, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: United Aircraft’s IRKUT MC-21 passed 90% of the static Ultimate load test end February at the TsAGI test institute in Moscow, reports ATO.RU. But the aircraft failed the 100% test.

The test simulates a load which is 150% higher than the highest load that the aircraft should be subject to in its operational life. The test failure does not stop the aircraft from beginning flight testing, for that the aircraft needs to pass the limit load test (highest load during flight), which it has.Missing the Ultimate load test for new airliners is nothing unusual. The designers tries to pass this test with the smallest possible margin. Any excess margin will make the aircraft unnecessary heavy.  Other aircraft to have missed the test are Mitsubishi Aircraft’s MRJ, Airbus’ A380 and Boeing’s 787.

According to ATO.RU, who quotes IRKUT, the reinforcements in the wingbox necessitated by the failure will weigh 25kg. It’s not clear if the changes will affect the start of test flights. These should have started during April.

Assessing the MC-21 future

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Introduction

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

Irkut MC-21 at roll-out. Photo via Google images.

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.

Summary
  • EIS planned for next year, but first flight hasn’t happened yet.
  • Few orders, small customer base.
  • Russia itself presents an overhang to the MC-21 program.
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Assessing the future of COMAC programs

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Introduction

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.

Summary
  • Exceedingly slow delivery ramp up for the ARJ-21.
  • First flight of the C919 planned this year.
  • Wide-body C929 will challenge the Airbus A330 and Boeing 787.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Turbofan developments in 2017

By Bjorn Fehrm

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.

Figure 1. GasTurb principal representation of a three shaft turbofan like our reference Rolls-Royce Trent XWB. Source: GasTurb.

 

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.

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