A significant event took place in the Russian civil aviation. The newest main aircraft - MS-21 - has risen to the sky since the time of the Soviet Union. The success of this project is of paramount importance for the country, since it will allow Russian aviation to fly to new heights. Moreover, to get above the world aircraft builders Boeing and Airbus.
The first news about the successful test flight of MS-21 on Sunday, 28 May 2017, was posted on its Facebook page by Russian Vice-President Dmitry Rogozin, who also published photographs of the aircraft in flight.
Russia did not begin to arrange a huge show from the first flight with a live broadcast, as they like to do in the West. MS-21 first rose on the wing in a quiet "family" circle. However, of course, a successful flight was reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rogozin called him, and the president had already recruited the head of Irkut corporation, the general designer of the OKB im. Yakovlev Oleg Demchenko and congratulated him and the staff of the enterprise on this important event.
However, after a series of test flights, there may be a public flight of MS-21 with the participation of journalists and cameras.
Meanwhile, the corporation "Irkut" themselves told about the first flight of the liner MS-21-300. It passed normally, all the machine systems worked without failures. The flight lasted 30 minutes at an altitude of 1 thousand. Meters at a speed of 300 km / hour. The flight plan included checking the aircraft for stability and controllability, as well as for the controllability of the engines. "In accordance with the program in the course of the flight, an approach simulation was made, followed by a passage over the strip, climbing and turning. This technique is typical for the first flight of new types of aircraft, "the press service of Irkut Corporation reported.
MS-21 piloted the crew as a test pilot, Hero of Russia Oleg Kononenko and test pilot, Hero of Russia Roman Taskaev. According to Kononenko, "the mission has been completely accomplished." "The flight was in normal mode. Remarks that prevent the continuation of testing, it is not revealed, "- said the pilot. "The characteristics and operating modes of the engines have been confirmed, all aircraft systems worked without failures," Taskaev added.
Start flight testing was planned in April, but then they were moved to the end of May. In early May, it became known about the preparation of the liner for a test flight after the first copy left the shop 4 May. The head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said then that the first flight is a matter of several weeks.
From the moment of rolling out from the shop to the first test flight, 24 days passed. However, rolling out an airplane from the shop does not mean that the liner must fly at once. "First we work in the open air: the aircraft is refueled, the tanks are tightened, the entire complex fuel supply system and other systems are working, the engine is started. On the Internet there was a photo where next to the MS-21 there was a fire truck. This is also a normal practice: the fire is needed when the engine is first started, because it was never launched. This is safety technology - that's all, "- says the head of Avia.ru portal Roman Gusarov.
"After checking all the systems the airplane starts to roll on the taxiway. The next stage: begin to give take-off mode and accelerate the airplane along the lane at first simply with braking, then with the front rack raised. And only after everything is checked a thousand times - here haste only harms, - the first flight is carried out, "the interlocutor adds.
This is the revolution
For Russia, the first flight of MS-21 is not just the completion of a long-term stage of the huge team's work and the birth of a new aircraft. This is also the development of new modern advanced technologies, which Russia had not had until recently, Gusarov notes.
While the MC-21 was just preparing to fly, 5 May 2017 had already made its first flight to its Chinese competitor C919.
However, there can be no talk of Russia lagging behind the PRC. In addition, the Russian airliner is much more revolutionary than the Chinese one. And according to many characteristics, as the developer claims, MS-21 will be much better than its classmates from the world giants Airbus and Boeing, namely Airbus A319neo and Boeing 737 MAX (with improved engines).
"MS-21 uses the latest technologies, which have not yet been worked out in the world. And in such a revolutionary way, of course, there is a huge share of risk-whether or not. However, we had no choice. If you make a plane using traditional technologies, then it definitely will not be better than Boeing and Airbus. They squeezed out of the classical design is all that is possible. Only taking a step forward, taking a chance, you can win. To enter such a highly competitive market, it is necessary that our aircraft by basic parameters significantly surpasses Western competitors. Otherwise, do not get through, "says Gusarov.
If we compare c SSJ-100, and this is the first civil aircraft created from scratch after the USSR, then on this liner Russia, in fact, learned to create modern planes from scratch and certify them in the West. "They say in the GSS that this is a school desk," Gusarov notes. And although the SSJ-100 is quite a modern and worthy liner, not inferior to its classmates for flight performance and economy, all the same, MS-21 is a step forward.
"With MS-21, we are already trying not to catch up, but to overtake something. The designs of the airplanes of the Boeing-737 and Airbus A-320 planes are not one decade old. They change the filling, they are constantly modernized, but they were not ready to risk so much as to create a new design. In the world aircraft industry there is such a rule: if the plane has more than 30% of innovations, then this is a huge risk. Therefore, the western manufacturer is trying to introduce so many innovations into the aircraft, "says Gusarov. And Russia took the risk to create an aircraft superior to Western competitors in the main parameters, for only in this way can you get into the steel duopoly of Boeing and Airbus.
Therefore, so far no one can say how everything will go smoothly. And no matter how important is the first test flight of MS-21, this is not the end of the work. The first flight will be followed by an important key exam for the aircraft, for designers and for all who created this aircraft. These are flight (factory) tests and the subsequent certification of the aircraft. During the factory tests, the reliability of all systems operation will be checked, their compliance with the technical specification, all possible flaws will be eliminated.
"Only when the aircraft is certified, you can say that the creators of the aircraft achieved success. It is not enough to create an airplane, we still have to prove that it is reliable, safe and meets all modern requirements for civil aircraft. And not only Russian, but also European. These requirements apply not only to the aircraft itself, but also to all systems and materials up to the last rivet. All are certified - from the design of the aircraft to the suppliers of components, "- says Roman Gusarov.
According to the plan to complete testing and certification is planned in 2018 year, and for 2019 year the deliveries of the first three aircraft are scheduled. However, how much time will pass for flight and certification tests - one and a half to two years - it does not matter, the main thing is that the liner is certified. "Because many of the technologies that are used in the MS-21, not that in Russia, and throughout the world no one used to build the aircraft. Therefore, it's better not to rush, but to bring a good product to the market, "Gusarov said.
The newest Russian technologies
The most important Russian know-how in the creation of MC-21 is the use of composite materials, the share of which in the design should be 40%. And the main advantage is the composite wing. On narrow-bodied aircraft, which is MS-21, neither the "Boeing" nor the "Airbus" has a composite wing. Composite wings are only for wide-bodied aircraft Boeing-787 Dreamliner and A350. However, Russia has developed its own composite technologies, which make it possible to make the wing cheaper and easier.
This is an infusion technology for creating a composite wing box caisson MC-21. Russia was the first to use this technology on an industrial scale, and even more so for the manufacture of large aviation structures. The so-called black wing allows to increase the aerodynamic quality of the aircraft in cruising flight.
"When the technologies that have developed and mastered in Russia, confirm their right to exist in terms of resource reliability and cheapness, this will open huge opportunities for the entire Russian aircraft industry. If the MS-21 gets a black wing due to these technologies, then all other planes that will be built in Russia will be able to be built on this technology. And this creates huge advantages in terms of the weight of the aircraft, aerodynamics, flight performance, and cost, "says Roman Gusarov. Therefore, Russia did not just go to great risk, in case of victory it will be a huge benefit.
Another pride of Russia is the "intellect" of the MS-21 airliner. Russian specialists from Irkut, TsAGI and other companies included in the UAC developed the latest software that does not have analogues, which contains the algorithm and functions for controlling the aircraft - many so-called defensive fools that foreign planes do not have. They increase the safety of the aircraft and reduce the risks of the human factor in its management.
For example, the MS-21 control system will save the aircraft from the so-called stalling, which occurs if the aircraft is picking up its nose and losing speed, including under icing conditions, that is, when ice formed on the wing. And for the first time on the MS-21, a restriction is introduced not only on the nose lift, but also on the bank angle so that when approaching the landing the aircraft does not touch the ground with a wing or a nacelle (where the engine is located), Oleg Panteleev from the "Airport" told. And this kind of automation function, which allows to eliminate the side effects of the "manual" control of the aircraft, he said, there is still a lot in MS-21. Of course, in many respects the element base is foreign, but the idea and development of "intelligence" is purely Russian know-how.
In general, MS-21 has all the most modern, including the "heart" of the liner. The engine is the most difficult and important part of the aircraft. While the Russian airliner will fly on a modern PW1400G engine from the American company Pratt & Whitney, which has already shown good performance. But especially for MC-21, a turbo-fan engine PD-14 is also being created - the newest and completely domestic one, from the United Engine-Building Corporation (UDK). Russia for the first time since the collapse of the USSR is building a new engine. In November 2015, the ODK began flight tests of PD-14, and in 2018 it is planned to begin mass production. As a result, customers themselves can choose which engine to fly with. It is expected that the PD-14 will ensure the superiority of MC-21 over the aircrafts A320 and Boeing-737 and will provide parity with those engines that will be installed on the modernized aircrafts A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX.
In what else will MC-21 be better than the modernized A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX? The Russian airliner will have better fuel consumption characteristics and lower direct operating costs. According to the developer, the performance of MS-21 is reduced by 12-15% compared to the current-generation aircraft and by 6-7% compared to their remotorized versions, that is, with A320neo and Boieng 737 MAX.
The cruising speed of the MS-21 is also higher than that of the European rival, 870 km / h vs. 828 km / h from Airbus. Even the Boeing 737 MAX with its 842 km / h is inferior to the Russian liner. At the same time, the cost per catalog of one MS-21 liner is 85 million dollars. Whereas Airbus A319neo costs from 97,5 to 124,4 million dollars, depending on the modification, and Boeing 737 MAX - from 90,2 to 116,6 million dollars.
Emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere in MS-21 is reduced by more than 20% relative to existing analogues.
In addition, designers reduced the aircraft's turnaround time at the airport by as much as 20% compared to competitors. Together with better fuel and weight efficiency, airlines will be able to additionally earn up to 3 million dollars on the operation of MS-21.
Even inside the cabin, the Russian liner is more convenient. Thanks to the elongated fuselage, it was possible to make the passage between the seats wider, to make the landing and disembarkation of passengers, and also to clean the cabin more quickly. All this means for the airlines saving time on the back of the aircraft at the airport, and therefore, and reduces its costs.
At the moment the portfolio of orders for MS-21 is 285 aircraft. Of these, 175 cars have concluded solid (pro-boosted) contracts, as early as 110 aircraft preliminary agreements were reached and framework agreements were signed.
The largest customer was Aeroflot, which is going to operate 50 MC-21. The first three should be received in 2019.
According to the plan to 2018, Irkut Corporation will collect the first four MC-21 and will gradually increase its output volumes. By 2020 year will be released on 20 aircraft per year, and to 2023 year - on 70 aircraft. It is quite possible to go to the production of 60-70 machines per year, because in parallel to the creation of MC-21, there was also a modernization of the plant for its production, says Roman Gusarov.
"And to sell 60-70 aircraft will not be difficult, if the product will be with the whole range of services - financing, loans, technical maintenance, spare parts. The manufacturer does not just sell the car, but sells the life cycle of the aircraft - from its delivery to disposal. Today, Boeing and Airbus produce more than 600 aircraft for a couple. We with our 60-70 airplanes are easily wedged, they will not even notice this competition very much from our side, "the expert concludes. But to accelerate to the same production volumes as Boeing and Airbus, it will take a lot longer. The western aircraft manufacturers themselves reached such volumes for decades.