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New commercial aircraft benefits from latest carbon fibre tech

31 May 2017

The new MC-21-300 commercial airliner has completed its maiden flight and is one of the first to feature a wing made of polymer composite materials.

MC-21-300 commercial airliner (Credit: IRKUT)

MC-21-300 new generation aircraft has the capacity of 163 to 211 passengers and 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.

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

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-world one developed for narrow-body aircraft with the capacity of over 130 passengers. The share of composites in MC-21 design exceeding 30 percent 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.

On 28 May, the maiden flight of the 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 1000m, at the speed of 186mph.

The flight plan included checking of in-flight stability and controllability, and also the controllability of the power plant. According to the programme, 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.

Hexcel Corporation congratulates IRKUT on the successful first flight of the MC-21-300. The MC-21 benefits from the latest advanced carbon fibre technologies including the HexPly carbon fibre/epoxy prepreg that Hexcel supplies for composite primary structures including the empennage. 

Video courtesy of IRKUT Corporation 

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