China's homegrown large passenger plane C919 makes its maiden flight in Shanghai, east China, May 5, 2017. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)
China's first indigenously-designed large passenger aircraft, the C919, successfully completed its maiden flight on Friday in the eastern city of Shanghai, providing a win-win cooperation for both China and the global market.
"The C919 not only generates a great source of pride for China, but also represents mutual benefits and cooperation between China and the rest of the world. For this reason, the C919 program also carries the pride and hopes of people across the globe," Ye Wei, executive director and president of COMAC America Corporation, told Xinhua in an interview on Thursday at his office in Los Angeles, California.
The successful flying of C919 is a crucial step in earning its manufacturer, COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China), a position alongside Airbus and Boeing as a major player in the large passenger aircraft industry, where the three players could become known as the "ABC" of aircraft manufacturing.
Out of the overall design of the C919, the airframe is, from its initial design to calculations, testing, and construction, independently researched and developed in China.
The research and development of the airframe gave rise to multiple technical breakthroughs, such as the unique design of the supercritical wing and different applications of new construction materials.
While some may consider the airframe to just be the shell of an aircraft, Ye emphasized that the development of the airframe represents a major technical component of large aircraft manufacturing. As one of the most difficult steps in the aircraft design process, the C919's airframe technology represents a major step forward for China's aircraft manufacturing industry.
At the same time, the C919 can be considered a paragon of global cooperation. Major components such as the engines, avionics, control systems, and more are sourced from numerous joint ventures and partners across Europe and the United States.
With major suppliers such as General Electric and Honeywell, the C919 project can be said to cover the world. The C919 features major components from 17 Level 1 suppliers around the globe, with Level 2 and 3 suppliers numbering in the hundreds.
"This is why the C919 is more than just China's pride. It also represents mutual benefit that stretches far beyond China's borders," Ye said.