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China’s new aircraft tested in Iceland

The ARJ21-700 aircraft type returns to China from Iceland after successful crosswind flight tests.

China is pioneering a new commercial aircraft that it hopes will one day compete with Airbus and Boeing. Its ARJ21 has just returned to China after undergoing a crosswind flight test in Iceland.

The ARJ21-700 AC104 developed by Comac (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) landed smoothly at Yanliang Airport in Xi’an after a 41-day trip to Iceland and a total of more than 20,000 kilometres.

The crosswind flight test in Iceland “has great significance in continuously improving the flight test capability of civil aircraft in China”, Shanghai-based Comac said, and “provides valuable experience for the international flight test of follow-up types of civil aircraft”.

The aircraft departed Yanliang on February 27 and arrived at Keflavik International Airport in Iceland on March 5. The test pilots completed six take-offs and six landings at Keflavik on March 26, having waited for the right crosswind conditions.

The maximum instantaneous speed of the crosswind was 47.4 knots (87.8 km/h, equivalent to a force 9 wind) and the average wind speed was 38.4 knots (71.1 km/h, equivalent to a force 8 wind) during the take-off phase.

During the landing phase, the maximum instantaneous wind speed was 48.7 knots (90.2 km/h, equivalent to a force 10 wind and the average wind speed was 35.2 knots (65.22 km/h, equivalent to a force 8 wind).

All of this amply exceeded the wind speed of 25 knots (46.3 km/h, equivalent to a force 6 wind) required by China’s Civil Aviation Regulations.

Benefits of Iceland
Crosswind resistance is a vital performance measure for an aircraft. The take-off and landing ability of the ARJ21-700 aircraft was verified in China with a crosswind of 22 knots.

But relevant testing work was not carried out in depth, due to the restrictions of environmental and weather conditions such as the runways at domestic airports and the speed of crosswinds.

After “thorough investigation and mass coordination and preparation”, Comac decided that the ARJ21-700 should go to Keflavik to carry out a certification flight test for crosswinds.

Keflavik is one of the few airports in the world with an east-west runway and a north-south runway that are orthogonal – at right angles – forming a cross shape, and there are strong winds greater than 30 knots throughout the year.

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