Russia’s 737 MAX Alternative: The MC-21-300 Resumes Flight Testing

On Wednesday, United Aircraft Russia announced that it had resumed the test-flight program for its MC-21-300 aircraft after…

Russia’s 737 MAX Alternative: The MC-21-300 Resumes Flight Testing

On Wednesday, United Aircraft Russia announced that it had resumed the test-flight program for its MC-21-300 aircraft after a pause to calibrate operations in compliance with coronavirus measures. The Russian manufacturer’s alternative to Boeing’s 737 MAX has now completed almost half of the flights needed to secure certification.

The MC-21-300 has resumed test flights. Photo: Getty Images

A little more than half-way left

After a break in its test-flight schedule, the Irkut MC-21-300 once more took to the skies from the Gromov Flight Research Institute 40 km outside of Moscow on Monday. The plane’s manufacturer, United Aircraft Russia, said that the tests had been interrupted for a brief time because of “the government’s recommendations to minimize the spread of COVID-19.”

Having tweaked its operations with remote working (not for the pilots) and schedules for main program tasks, it once more has the twin-engine back in the air. It hopes for tests to be completed by the end of the year, and to roll out its first jet in Aeroflot livery by 2021.

Four aircraft are participating in the trials. Together they have now completed a little over 300 flights out of the 650 needed for Russian certification. So far, there are 174 orders for the model from 14 airlines.

The fourth MC-21 joined the test program in December 2019. Photo: Dmitry Tereshov via Wikimedia Commons

Tests performed

It may require another 350 or so flights under its belt before the model will be certified for commercial production, but UAC Russia is optimistic about the progress it is making.

In a statement released Wednesday, the manufacturer said it has stepped up the frequency of test flights for the model since the beginning of 2020, and that new systems allow it to measure up to 40,000 in-flight parameters.

The aircraft has performed flights at altitudes and speeds characteristic of commercial flight. Specifically, the flights have focused on testing extreme angles of attack and flutter tests. The test pilots have also carried out various engine assessments, and take-offs and landings with simulated engine failure.

The airplane’s instrument landing system, ILS, as well as its navigational systems, landing equipment, and external lighting have all been evaluated with night-time test-flights.

Furthermore, UAC Russia said that each plane had been manufactured taking previous test-flight results into account and that it had improved several systems. It also said that it is focusing “significant efforts” on software development and testing.

Aviadvigatel PD-14
The Russian-made Aviadvigatel PD-14 is the second engine option for the MC-21. Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin via Wikimedia Commons

Participating planes

According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, the four aircraft that are being used for the test flights look slightly different on the inside. Two of them have already been equipped with proper passenger cabins. One in a two-class configuration based on 163 seats, and one with an all-economy 211 seat layout.

The very first Irkut MC-21-300 rolled out of the factory in the Siberian city of Irkutsk on the 8th of June 2016, and it was first airborne on the 28th of May 2017. This after a significant delay, as UAC initially intended to introduce the plane in 2012. The fourth was introduced to the test program on the 25th of December last year.

All of the MC-21s in the air so far are powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines. However, Irkut is completing the first of the model fitted with Aviadvigatel PD-14. The locally-made turbofans will be a second engine option for the aircraft.

With so many orders for the 737 MAX canceled, what do you think of the potential for the Russian-built medium-haul liner? How will Russia’s aircraft industry weather the coronavirus-crisis? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Turkish Airlines 777 Draws The Flag Of Turkey In Sky

To celebrate National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey, Turkish Airlines has used one of its 777s to…

Turkish Airlines 777 Draws The Flag Of Turkey In Sky

To celebrate National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey, Turkish Airlines has used one of its 777s to draw a flag of the country in the air. The flight numbered TK1920 representing the year Turkey became a sovereign country, flew over Ankara today for this special mission. Let’s find out more about this flight.

Turkish Airlines flight 1920 flew over Ankara to draw the Turkish flag. Photo: Turkish Airlines/Flightradar24

Marking an important day

As Turkey’s flag carrier, Turkish Airlines decided to undertake this special mission to highlight an important occasion. Today marks 100 years since the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was formed and the country declared itself a sovereign nation. The day also celebrates children all over the world.

The flight was operated by a Boeing 777. Photo: Turkish Airlines


The day is a national holiday in Turkey and usually involves parades and celebrations. However, the coronavirus has forced everyone to remain at home and avoid gatherings. Turkish Airlines took this opportunity to mark the occasion in a special way while also ensuring everyone stays safe. The flight departed Ankara airport at 9:39 AM local time and landed there two and a half hours later at 12:17 PM, flying in this unique path, displayed by flight tracking sites like Flightradar24.

The airline later tweeted a video showing clips of the flight and the planning for it. The video also highlights a number of safety measures being taken, including flying the plane empty and wearing masks and gloves.

Airlines providing essential flights

Carriers around the world, especially flag carriers, are operating a number of essential flights for their countries. This includes cargo and repatriation flights, sometimes from distant parts of the world. Many airlines have temporarily converted their passenger planes into cargo ones by removing seats to maximize space.

Air Canada Cargo flights converted
Airlines have been removing seats to create more space for cargo-only flights. Photo: Air Canada

Some airline pilots have also recently taken to drawing shapes in the sky to show appreciation for medical staff, send important messages, or celebrate holidays like Easter. Turkish Airlines seems to have joined in on this trend and used it to mark an important day for the Turkish people.


In recent days Turkey has seen a drastic rise in the number of coronavirus cases, adding nearly 4,000 cases a day and becoming the worst affected country in Asia. This has led to the country imposing lockdown and banning all international flights in a bid to slow the virus’ spread. The flight ban has forced Turkish Airlines to suspend nearly all of its scheduled flights. The airline is, however, currently undertaking a massive repatriation effort to bring home 25,000 Turkish citizens from 59 countries.

Turkish Airlines is operating a massive repatriation effort with nearly 200 flights this week alone. Photo: Getty Images

In the time of the coronavirus, airlines have had to significantly rollback operations and park most of their fleets. Flights such as this one are a way for airlines to chip in and provide an experience for those forced to stay at home. It also helps highlight the frontline role airlines have taken in this crisis by providing essential medical equipment and bringing back citizens stranded around the world.

What do you think about Turkish Airlines’ unique flight? Let us know in the comments below!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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