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Acac Arj21

ARJ21 翔凤 Xiangfeng
ARJ21 in flight at the Zhuhai Air Show (2010).
Role Regional jet
Manufacturer Comac
Designer AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Company (ACAC) and Antonov
First flight 28 November 2008
Status Flight testing
Number built 6
Unit cost
US $20 million as of 2008

The Comac ARJ21 Xiangfeng (Chinese: 翔凤; pinyin: xiángfèng; literally "Soaring Phoenix")[1] is a twin-engined regional airliner. The design incorporates components from 19 major European and US aerospace suppliers, including General Electric (engine production),[2] Honeywell (fly-by-wire system) and Rockwell Collins (avionics production).[3]


The development of the ARJ21 regional jet is key project in the "10th Five-Year Plan" of China. It began in March 2002 and was led by the government-controlled ACAC consortium. The maiden flight of the ARJ21 was initially planned to take place in 2005 with commercial service beginning 18 months afterwards.[4]

However, the design work was delayed and the final trial production stage did not begin until June 2006.[5] The first aircraft (serial number 101) was rolled out on 21 December 2007 with plans for a maiden flight in March 2008.[1] This was first delayed to 21 September 2008 and finally took place on 28 November 2008 at Shanghai's Dachang Airfield.[6] The plane completed a long distance test flight on 15 July 2009, flying from Shanghai to Xi'an in 2 hours 19 minutes, over a distance of 1,300 km. The second ARJ21 plane (serial number 102) completed the same test flight route on 24 August 2009. The third plane (serial number 103) similarly completed the test flight on 12 September 2009.[7] The fourth aircraft (CN 104) was flying by November 2010. By August 2011, static, flutter and crosswind tests of the completed aircraft had been completed.[8] The aircraft was expected to be delivered to customers in late 2010, starting with Chengdu Airlines.[9]

The ACAC consortium aimed to manufacture 11 ARJ21s a year by 2010, and 30 per year by 2015. In 2009 the consortium was reorganized and became a part of COMAC.[10]

Further delays

In November 2010, an ARJ21 wing failed to reach the predicted load rating during static testing. The wing's failure then led the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to limit the aircraft’s flight envelope during its flight test program. The new delivery date was then set at the end of 2011.[11]

On 19 August 2011, it was reported that the first delivery of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) ARJ21 regional jet is likely to be delayed by up to a year or more, after problems surfaced during the flight testing programme.[12] On 24 August 2011, it was reported that two components of the testing program had not been completed; icing tests were underway but delayed and stall speed tests had not begun. According to an anonymous source within the program that this could lead to delay in obtaining type certification, which could in turn lead to delays in delivery.[8]

On 8 June 2012, A COMAC official told Reuters that ARJ21 was unlikely to get regulatory approval before 2013, without giving official reason for the 5 year delay so far. Reuters investigation suggested wing cracks and problems with wiring and avionics were among the reasons for delays.[13]

Earning a United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification is a precondition for the ARJ21-700 to enter the world market. Since 2003, the aviation authorities of China and the USA have been negotiating about the ARJ21-700 application for FAA type certification and the shadow certification. As a result the FAA will accept a type certification application of AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Company’s ARJ21-700 that will be sent by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The FAA also decided to develop a shadow certification for ARJ21-700 under the current standards and established the CAAC Technology Support Office in Shanghai and Beijing. At the meeting, Luo Ronghuai, assistant general manager of AVIC 1 and general manager of ACAC, said ACAC would follow the strict airworthiness standards of the CAAC and FAA.[14]

On 28 June 2012, the ARJ21-700 travelled at high speed on a specially constructed test lane at Xi'an Yanliang airport. Since 22 June, the aircraft has undergone 10 tests on taxiing, take-off and landing at different speeds on a flooded runway. The tests ensure that the aircraft is able to taxi, take-off and land despite having water on the runway. Since the aircraft entered the validation flight test phase in February 2012, it has been scheduled to undergo 1,500 hours of validation flight tests involving 280 subjects. It has since completed the airspeed calibration, natural icing, engine nacelle anti-icing, crosswind validation tests and is preparing for a stall flight test.[15]

Launch customer Chengdu Airlines was due to receive its first aircraft by the end of 2011, but ongoing delays in the certification process has caused it to be postponed by up to a year.[15] However, according to a spokesman of COMAC, the first ARJ-21 will be delivered to its customers by the end of 2013.[16]

In July 2012, Comac's chief financial officer Tian Min said at the Farnborough Airshow that he expected the aircraft to receive certification from both the US FAA and the Civil Aviation Administration of China in 2013, with the first delivery to launch customer Chengdu Airlines to occur around the end of 2013. He told the press that "The programme is now undergoing certification tests and flights. There have been some problems but that's part of the process and progress is good. There are no serious issues".[17]


Comac was accused of copying the MD-80, although ACAC refers to the ARJ21 as "designed by Chinese with completely independent intellectual property rights". Indeed, it reuses the tooling that was provided by McDonnel Douglas for the production under license of the MD80 in China.[18] However, it was believed to be a practice plane since their new plane, the Comac C919 was completely designed by themselves.[19][20][21] The plane features an all-new supercritical wing having a sweepback of 25 degrees and designed by Ukraine’s Antonov Design Bureau. It is fitted with winglets to improve aerodynamic performance.[22][23][24] Antonov also assisted the project with geometrical determination and integral analysis of the construction strength of ARJ21.[22] Some of China's supercomputers have been used to design parts for ARJ21.[25] The first general designer of ARJ21 is Mr. Wu Xingshi (吴兴世), who was also the general designer of Shanghai Y-10, and the current general designer of ARJ21 is Mr. Chen Yong (陈勇).

In addition to the baseline and the stretched passenger models, ACAC has proposed extended-range, freight, and business jet variants.


Members of the ACAC consortium, which was formed to develop the aircraft, will manufacture major components of the aircraft:


  • ARJ21-700 – baseline model which will have a capacity of 70 to 95 passengers.
  • ARJ21-900 – stretched fuselage model based on the ARJ-700, which will have a capacity of 95 to 105 passengers.
  • ARJ21F – dedicated freighter version of the ARJ21-700. It will have a capacity of 5 LD7 containers or PIP pallets, with a maximum payload of 10,150 kg.
  • ARJ21B – business jet version of the ARJ21-700. A typical configuration would cater for 20 passengers.

Orders and options

Entries shaded in pink have been announced, but have not yet signed a firm contract.

Date Airline EIS Type
ARJ21-700 ARJ21-900 ARJ21F ARJ21B TBA Options Rights
September 2003 Shanghai Airlines[27] ? 5
Shandong Airlines[27] ? 10
Shenzhen Financial Leasing[27] ? 20
Shanghai Financial Leasing[27] ? 30
March 2004 Xiamen Airlines[28][29] ? 6
December 2007 Henan Airlines[30][31] ? 100
December 2007 Lao Airlines[32][33] 2011? 2
March 2008 GECAS[34] 2013 5 20
Joy Air[35] ? 50
January 2010 Chengdu Airlines 2011 30
May 2010 Merkukh Enterprises[36] ? 9
June 2011 Myanma Airways ? 2
February 2012 Merpati Nusantara Airlines 2014 40
Sub-totals 309 0 0 0 0 20 0
Totals 309 Orders 20

Six ARJ21 have been built, but none have entered service.


ARJ21-700 ARJ21-900
Cockpit crew Two
Seating capacity 90 (1-class)
78 (2-class)
105 (1-class)
98 (2-class)
Length 33.46 metres (109 ft 9 in) 36.35 metres (119 ft 3 in)
Wingspan 27.28 metres (89 ft 6 in)
Wing area 79.86 square metres (859.6 sq ft)
Wing Sweepback 25 degrees
Height 8.44 metres (27 ft 8 in)
Cabin width 3.143 metres (10 ft 3.7 in)
Cabin height 2.03 metres (6 ft 8 in)
Aisle width 0.483 metres (19.0 in)
Seat width 0.455 metres (17.9 in)
Typical empty weight 24,955 kilograms (55,016 lb) 26,270 kilograms (57,920 lb) STD
26,770 kilograms (59,020 lb) ER
Maximum take-off weight 40,500 kilograms (89,300 lb) STD
43,500 kilograms (95,900 lb) ER
43,616 kilograms (96,157 lb) STD
47,182 kilograms (104,019 lb) ER
Range fully loaded 1,200 nautical miles (2,200 km; 1,400 mi) STD
2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km; 2,300 mi) ER
1,200 nautical miles (2,200 km; 1,400 mi) STD
1,800 nautical miles (3,300 km; 2,100 mi) ER
Max. operating speed Mach 0.82
Normal Cruise speed Mach 0.78
Take off run at MTOW 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) STD
1,900 metres (6,200 ft) ER
1,750 metres (5,740 ft) STD
1,950 metres (6,400 ft) ER
Service Ceiling 11,900 metres (39,000 ft)
Powerplants (2x) General Electric CF34-10A
Engine thrust 17,057 lbf (75,870 N) 18,500 lbf (82,000 N)
  • Notes: Data are provided for reference only. STD = Standard Range, ER = Extended Range
  • Sources: ARJ21 Series[37]

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


External links

  • ACAC Manufacturer of ARJ21
  • Aerospace Technology on ARJ21
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