Preparing China’s C919 for its first flight: Nexcelle is ready!
January 26, 2017
Nexcelle has mobilized its resources in preparation for the maiden flight of China’s new C919 jetliner, which will be powered by integrated propulsion systems that feature the joint venture’s nacelle systems.
Personnel from the Nexcelle parent companies, GE Aviation’s Middle River Aircraft Systems in the U.S. and Safran Nacelles in France, will be deployed later this month to Shanghai – home of the COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd.) C919 final assembly line.
They will join Nexcelle’s on-site team of full-time engineering and support staff at Shanghai during installation of the C919’s two flight-ready integrated propulsion systems (IPS), which bring together the Nexcelle-supplied nacelles with CFM International’s LEAP-1C turbofan engines.
“Nexcelle is on track with pre-flight activity for the C919, and everyone is fully committed to supporting our nacelle systems as COMAC’s no. 1 aircraft is readied for its historic first takeoff,” said Manuel Rodriguez Arenas, Nexcelle’s On-Site Nacelle Architect and Integration Leader in Shanghai. “Our nacelle system is a great product, and we look forward seeing it airborne on China’s newest jetliner.”
Clearing the way for C919 flight testing
In the final months of 2016, the no. 1 C919 was put through its paces during ground-based pre-flight evaluations, including static test engine runs performed by COMAC in November with the IPS installed.
COMAC formally transferred this C919 to its Shanghai Flight Test Center on December 25, clearing the way for final hardware installation, checkout and ground tests – leading to an upcoming flight readiness review that will clear the aircraft for its first takeoff.
As a supplier for the C919 program, Nexcelle provides the highly capable nacelle, thrust reverser and exhaust system that are integrated with the jetliner’s LEAP-1C engine, creating one of the world’s first truly integrated propulsion systems.
Nexcelle innovation with the O-Duct thrust reverser
COMAC’s C919 marks the first use of Nexcelle’s innovative O-Duct thrust reverser – which reduces weight, increases thrust reverser efficiency and facilitates engine maintenance.
The composite O-Duct thrust reverser was developed by Safran Nacelles, with its unique one-piece configuration contributing to reduced structural weight overall. The design also eliminates the flowpath bifurcation of traditional thrust reversers’ two-piece D-Duct designs, thereby increasing thrust reverser efficiency.
Other benefits are the replacement of heavier hydraulics by an electrical thrust reverser actuation system (E-TRAS) that drives the O-Duct aftward to its reverse thrust position. Improved engine maintenance is another advantage of the O-Duct design, resulting from easier access to the LEAP-1C’s engine core and the thrust reverser components.
China is developing the C919 as a new-generation short/medium-range airliner, accommodating 168 passengers in an all-economy layout or 156 in a two-cabin arrangement.