By Sophie Friedman
For those looking to join the Mile High Club in a real Chinese plane, mark your calendar for 2016. This will be the year of China’s first foray into commercial aircraft; at present, the country only produces military aircraft engines.
Zhang Jian, general manager of the recently founded Shanghai-based AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Co. says, “China is expected to complete the research of its first jumbo jet engine in 2016 and begin to apply for aviation certificate from the state aviation authority.” He hopes that his company’s homemade engines can be combined with Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China’s coming planes.
The production of Chinese-made engines and planes will not only allow the country to make its mark on the commercial aviation business, but a solid engine industry will also create jobs in “electronics, digitally-controlled machines and composite materials,” said CCTV.
If it’s successful, CACC will be one of the few jumbo jet makers in the world. Currently if you’re flying anywhere, that too-narrow seat you’re cursing is more than likely a Boeing or Airbus plane. For what it’s worth, officials said in 2008 that “CACC will pose no threat to large jet-makers like Boeing and Airbus… Since large aircraft cannot be made in one or two days.”
By 2009, chief designers on the project were telling the National Congress that their jumbo pet project, the C919 (9 can mean eternity and the jet is expected to seat 190 people), was totally going to compete on the international sphere.
“C represents China as well as COMAC, the abbreviation for Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd.” COMAC deputy manager Wu Guanghui said, according to People’s Daily. Note: Apparently Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China has more than one abbreviation.
“The name also reflects our determination to compete in the international market for jumbo jet. C919 comes after Airbus and Boeing, so you will have ABC in the aviation industry.”
Boeing and Airbus can continue competing with just each other a little longer however; AVIC’s Liu Daxiang says, “It would take about 20 years to develop an engine to propel China’s first homemade large plane.” Let’s hope that when the planes do roll out, the airlines make quick with the WiFi. Not that we’re feeding an addiction or anything.
Photo from rupeenews