China-Russia Reveal Cockpit Model of New C929 Jetliner

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CRAIC CR929 concept (Photo: CRAIC)

China and Russia recently unveiled a full-size model of the cockpit and passenger cabin of their jointly developed CRAIC CR929 wide-body, long-haul twinjet airliner. The plane's maiden flight is scheduled for 2023.

The reveal of this passenger plane was made at the opening of the biennial Airshow China, China's largest airshow, which is ongoing until Nov. 11. The airshow is being held at Zhuhai.

CR929 (CR stands for China-Russia) is a joint venture project being undertaken by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China and Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). Both firms formed the China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation (CRAIC) to design and build the CR929. This 50-50 joint venture agreement was signed in June 2016.

UAC President Yury Slyusar said the joint program is making progress and is on schedule. He said it's currently in the preliminary design phase. The project is also in the supplier and equipment selection phase, which will finish by the end of 2019.

The same-size model or mock-up was 22 meters long, 6.5 meters tall and 5.9 meters wide. It revealed a roomy interior with 9-abreast basic seating in economy class.

The cockpit displayed dummy instruments since the actual systems and their suppliers have yet to be chosen. It featured a sidestick controller similar to the flying control used on Airbus planes.

The jet's designers said the plane's fuselage will be designed and made by China. The wings will be designed by Russia. The CR929 will eventually compete with the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787.

The CRAIC CR929 was formerly known as Comac C929. It's being designed as a long-range twinjet airliner family seating from 250 to 320 peopComac and UAC estimated the development at 10 years. A first delivery might take place in 2027 if the program is launched in 2017, which it wasn't.

CR 929 will come in three variants. The first variant, the -500, will carry 250 passengers in three-classes. It will have a range of 14,000 km. The -600 will have 280 seats and a range of 12,000 km while the -700 will carry 320 passengers to 10,000 km.

Early configuration and preliminary design should be completed this year. Design documentation is scheduled for 2021; first flight for 2023 and introduction by 2025.

The CR929 will see a higher proportion of parts from Chinese suppliers, but key systems like avionics will rely mostly on Western manufacturers. The engines might also come from Western firms.

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