Maiden Flight of First China-Made Passenger Plane

China’s Homegrown Jumbo Passenger Jet Takes to the Sky

(By Liu Jie, Qi Zhongxi, Hu Tao. Xinhua News Agency, May 5, 2017. Complete text:) Shanghai - China took a major step toward becoming a global aviation powerhouse as its homegrown large passenger plane, the C919, took to the sky on Friday [May 5].

The flight makes China the fourth jumbo jet producer after the US, Western Europe and Russia. It also marks a milestone for the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), the Shanghai-based manufacturer of the C919.

The twin-engine plane departed from Shanghai Pudong International Airport with five crew members on board but no passengers.

The plane took off at around 2 p.m. amid applause from more than 1,000 spectators on the tarmac, including Vice Premier Ma Kai and Shanghai Party chief Han Zheng. The flight lasted about 80 minutes.

The "C" in the aircraft’s name stands for both China and COMAC, while nine symbolizes "forever" in Chinese culture, and 19 represents the 190 seats at maximum capacity.

With a standard range of 4,075 kilometers, the narrow-body jet is comparable with updated Airbus 320 and Boeing’s new generation 737 planes, signaling the country’s entry into the global aviation market.

The successful flight moves China one step closer to transforming itself from a manufacturer of low-cost goods to a creator of advanced technology.

It marks a major breakthrough of China’s large passenger plane project and a major landmark in the development of China’s civil aviation industry, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council said in a congratulatory letter.

It is a great achievement made under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, said the letter.

"The maiden flight is exciting," said Wu Guanghui, the C919’s chief designer, ...

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