back to article China's first large passenger jet makes maiden flight

China's first large passenger jet has successfully taken to the skies and then landed again. Just after 06:00 GMT, the first C919 rolled down and off a runway at Shanghai Pudong airport, to the sounds of applause of onlookers and plenty of senior officials who showed up to celebrate a milestone for Chinese industry.It touched …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    This looks like 321 equivalent, not 320.

    It is rather large. Looks like it is going for the top end of the scale - 321 and its Boeing equivalent.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: This looks like 321 equivalent, not 320.

      "the plane has taken nine years to get off the drawing board"

      I think they mean off the photocopier....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boeing: Flying American scrap

    Chinese investment in STEM is starting to pay dividends.

  3. David 132 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    On the plus side, instant familiarity

    "But the wider aviation industry won't feel competitive pressure, as the C919 includes parts from many established aviation companies"

    Indeed - blueprints from Boeing, materials formulae from Airbus, software generously provided free of charge by BAE, who don't even know they did so... this is a Chinese plane, after all...

    1. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

      "this is a Chinese plane, after all..."

      Do you have solid references to back these statements up, or is it just plain racism?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

        Do you have solid references to back these statements up, or is it just plain racism?

        Some of us have worked with Chinese suppliers. The experience of evaluating what they are trying to sell suffices to make a very educated guess.

        1. SundogUK

          Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

          Yup. The company I work for has a facility in Shanghai. We have had to sack three purchasing managers in five years for fraud/corruption.

      2. rh587 Bronze badge

        Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

        Do you have solid references to back these statements up, or is it just plain racism?

        Given their past efforts in the world of automotive and plant machinery, I'd say it's a fair comment.

        Inch-perfect clones of JCB diggers that they were foolish enough to bring to Germany

        The JAC A6 which is definitely a native Chinese product. Any resemblance to the Audi A6 is purely coincidental.

        and the Land Wind X7 which the Chinese Government insists is completely different and distinct from the Range Rover Evoque

        Oh, and don't forget even the Russians got a bit upset with them when it turned out they'd ripped off the SU-27 in developing the Shenyang J-11.

        Don't send any IP to China. Ever. It'll be copied and distributed around the State engineering firms before close of play. Not that it matters - they've probably already got a copy anyway...

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

          That Auto Express article is bizarre. With two or three exceptions of the (the A6, the ersatz Rolls Royce, and possibly the Lifan 330 which is very Mini-like) the Chinese vehicles in the list bear no more than a generic resemblance to the supposed western originals. Apply a collection of currently fashionable styling elements to a vehicle and you will inevitably end up with something that more or less resembles all the other vehicles in that class. The author appears to have merely selected whichever vehicle he thinks is most like the alleged infringer (i.e. whatever Chinese vehicle he could find a picture of) and called it a match. Even the horrible Rolls Royce ripoff really only counts as such because RR effectively owns the category of big square luxury car.

          Not that I am denying the Chinese copy. But stylistic copying happens all the time. We call it fashion. The only reason we don't in this case is that we are not yet ready to start copying from the Chinese. But that will happen soon enough and then we'll change our tune.

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

            Strange article indeed. Admittedly, most of those cars take more than inspiration from their "counterparts", lifting entire chunks of styling more or less verbatim - but I don't think any of those cars is an actual, old-fashioned, 1:1 copy of another, to be honest. At least, not any more than "Under Pressure" is identical to "Ice, Ice Baby"...

            1. Triggerfish

              Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

              I worked with a guy who built a carding machine, and a few other bits of textiles plant, talked about whether it was worth patenting and he basically said it would be copied straight away and the patent wasn't worth the money once it reached China, and not much call for them in England.

              But at the same time, worth watching these countries they are investing in STEM for a reason.

          2. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

            Not that I am denying the Chinese copy. But stylistic copying happens all the time. We call it fashion.

            Maybe it's just me.. but when I think "copy" there's more than just style. How about engineering? The guts that are hidden? If seen more than a few things the Chinese have ripped off that on the surface look "different" yet inside is another story.

            Hell... in the laser cutter world, they're ripping each other off. One maker designs a new tube or power supply and two weeks later, there's a bunch of copycat "equivalents" out there.

            So why would they treat car and aircraft designs differently?

      3. Dale 3
        Coat

        Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

        Plane racism, surely?

      4. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

        Xenophobic maybe but certainly not racist...

        Chinese is not a race, Asian or Mongoloid could be classes as races...

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

          ...except that biological concepts of "race" have been obsolete for 150 years :)

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

            "...except that biological concepts of "race" have been obsolete for 150 years :)"

            So you would also consider that races exists such as "European", "American", "Russian"..... I think not...

            Grouping the entire Chinese population into one race, 1 Billion people spread over a very very large area.......

            If we no longer consider Biological concepts as being part of what defines a race then the concept of race has no value. Unless of course your definition of race is the one that the "Media" loves to use when calling someone racist.. ie it can mean anything that anyone wants it to mean depending on the situation.. ie Race become a variable ......

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

              "Grouping the entire Chinese population into one race, 1 Billion people spread over a very very large area......."

              Not to mention the fact that China is effectively an empire of disparate regions and peoples and has it's own internal "racist" issues.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On the plus side, instant familiarity

        One only has to see their track record with escalators to be worried about flying on this thing.

  4. Oh Matron!

    Circumnavigation?

    5,5000 km! That's a hell of a range! Around the world with 1,5000 to spare! Yay!

  5. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Fly on one - if you have a death wish

    In early 2015 I boarded the high speed express train from Nanning to Guangzhou; the service had opened TEN DAYS earlier.

    There were already substantial amounts of rust showing through the paintwork on the bridge supports along the way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

      >In early 2015 I boarded the high speed express train from Nanning to Guangzhou; the service had opened TEN DAYS earlier.

      Yeah, reading the page below, you can imagine the envy with which they view British railways...

      http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/transportation/the-fastest-train.htm

      1. SundogUK

        Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

        Seriously, you accept Chinese government propaganda at face value?

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

      "There were already substantial amounts of rust showing through the paintwork on the bridge supports along the way."

      You say rust, I say self healing metal.

    3. CraPo

      Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

      Can't have been that high-speed if you could notice the rust :-P

    4. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

      The Chinese build their high speed rail lines on concrete viaducts. If you saw rust you were looking at older infrastructure. Seriously, how could you see the supports of the bridge carrying the train you were travelling in?

      @SundogUK

      The Chinese are doing extraordinary things with their rail infrastructure. That's not Chinese government propaganda. I try not to let my dislike of the Chinese regime blind me to the very real achievements of the Chinese as a people and a culture. Adopt that approach and you might save yourself some nasty surprises.

      1. greenawayr

        Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

        Having done Plymouth to London (via the Dawlish train washer) and Beijing to Shanghai on the bullet, I can say with some authority that the Chinese are a tad ahead of us on the old rail infrastructure standards.

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

        "The Chinese are doing extraordinary things with their rail infrastructure. "

        Mostly directly copied from the Germans, French and other first world countries...

        "I try not to let my dislike of the Chinese regime blind me to the very real achievements of the Chinese as a people and a culture."

        Yes they have achieved a great deal via spying, industrial espionage, etc...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

          >Yes they have achieved a great deal via spying, industrial espionage, etc...

          When China manufactures practically everything in the UK/US high street, industrial espionage isn't really necessary. Pretty sure the UK/US are more than holding their own on the spying front.

          >Mostly directly copied from the Germans, French and other first world countries...

          Never really understood what is supposed to meant by the 'first world' - but if you mean the West - take a look at who is bankrolling investment and international debt. It's China's money building the new UK nuclear programme, much of HS2 and Osbourne's pet 'The Northern Powerhouse' - they are also the largest US foreign creditor holding over $1 trillion in treasury bonds.

    5. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

      "In early 2015 I boarded the high speed express train from Nanning to Guangzhou; the service had opened TEN DAYS earlier.

      There were already substantial amounts of rust showing through the paintwork on the bridge supports along the way."

      I see a flaw in your logic there.

      Presumably they built all of this BEFORE the service started... Didnt just throw it up the morning that the service started.

      So while the service had been operational for 10 days the bridge supports were how old?

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

        In response to the various queries.

        The train stops a few times, and slows considerably crossing a couple of rivers; the rust was on the struts holding the trackbed to the concrete pylons; I saw it in several places, including on pylons for a second high speed line that goes off to the North West of Guangzhou - which hadnt been finished at the time.

        There was also significant rust on the hand railings and ladders the workers take to get to the pylons (again, I could see them as the train was stopped at a station with a curved section of track ahead).

        As to how long the pylons had been there before the service opened; they werent there when I last took the Nanning/Guangzhou train in early 2012; I'd have to check, but I seem to remember being told by my MiL that construction started late 2013; so yes, very fast construction of over 300 miles of track, especially as the UK takes about 25 years to lay 5 miles of track these days.

        The train itself was very nice to ride in, and was set up like an airliner, with stewardess's for every carriage dressed almost identically to the Air China Southern flights I often take.

        Certainly the 5 hour trip was much nicer than the 12-15 hours the old trains take.

    6. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Fly on one - if you have a death wish

      Some of the Chinese high-speed rail tracts have had some issues, yes (cost-cutting and causing the infamous derailment amongst them), but they are at least pushing ahead with high-speed rail (and yes, they demanded to have access to the IP of Bombardier, Siemens and Alstom to build their own trains). We're still faffing about with century-old Victorian infrastructure and tinkering around the edges (that's ultimately what things like London Bridge, Birmingham New Street etc are, tinkering around the edges).

      HS2 should help, but even then, we're still just mucking about amongst the incessant moaning from hoi polloi about the costs and how this is just wrong and don't we have other things to worry about and how shitty the railways really are and how those railway companies are all ripoff merchants (despite the margins in the rail business being to the tune of 2%, and the Treasury being the true rip-off merchant in all of it).

      It's almost as bad as when CTRL (now known as Highspeed 1) was being built, yet how many moaners are now happy to park up at Ashford or Dartford to catch a Eurostar, or toddle on down to Folkestone to catch a Eurotunnel train across to the continent? Or better yet, catch the high-speed Hitachi Javelin service from Kent into London for work? MANY.

      We should be doing what the Chinese have done... invest into our infrastructure and make it more useful for freight and for people. Right now, we're barely keeping it going for commuters.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Birmingham New Street

        They spent millions on "renovating" and "improving" New Street station, and all they've done is blow a hole through the floor of the Pallasades, cut a hole in the roof, and turned a train station in to yet another shopping area.

        The millions spent and not one carriage of capacity added to the station, yet it's lauded as a great success.

        AND DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON THAT VILE STAINLESS STEEL CRAP HANGING OUTSIDE IT.

  6. 0laf Silver badge

    Well the with the glowing safety record of many Chinese produced cars I'm sure we'll all the queuing round the block for this.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      To be fair, China's safety record on most cars isn't any worse than ours these days.

      The manufacturing is good because companies such as Roewe have literally brought the design rights for cars and the entire modern production lines (ie for the Rover 75) and moved it to China lock, stock and barrel to reassemble and continue production, and have kept the design staff in the UK to do design work for their new cars.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Roewe IS Rover

        They have trouble with the "v", so they changed the name slightly.

        As for Chinese air safety, I flew one of Air China Southerns 777's out of Guangzhou in 2014, and have never been so scared in all my life; we had a 4 hour delay in Beijing while they used lump hammers to get a seat back into the upright position, and what felt like a totally broken l/h brake that caused the aircraft to swerve violently right every time the brakes were applied on landing, at Beijing and again in Frankfurt.

        You could see how shit scared the cabin crew were every time we came in to land.

        Taking off from Beijing was no picnic either, the aircraft cabin was visibly twisting in the air turbulence; I thought it was going to tear in half.

        Since then, all my flights into and out of China have either been on Western airlines or Emirates.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Roewe IS Rover

          "As for Chinese air safety".

          According to "The world's safest airlines in 2016 (JACDEC rankings)".

          Hainan Airlines was the third safest airline, ahead of both Western airlines and Emirates. Perhaps you are just a bit afraid of foreigners, the unknown.

          PS. Wings and cabins twist, like ships or they break. (and the cabin was not Chinese).

          1. Ian Emery Silver badge

            Re: Roewe IS Rover

            Last time I looked CHINA Airlines was near the top of the LEAST safe airlines list (Turkish Airways were at the top of that list).

            As for the cabin not being Chinese, I have been in and out of Beijing airport on other 777's and NEVER seen such a severe twist; the overhead storage compartments were moving +/- 10 degrees or more out of true; and I've never, never, ever felt a plane consistently veering off to the edge of the runway every time the brakes were applied; they were obviously dangerously defective, and the whole aircrew knew it - but the plane was still in service.

            I went to the airport information desk and told the senor-most airport official they could locate that the aircraft was unsafe, and shouldnt be allowed to leave without the brakes being looked at..

            Just because the plane wasnt Chinese doesnt mean it was being maintained to a safe level by the Chinese company operating it. Mistakes get made (look at Concorde - tyres and cockpit windscreen cock-ups), but most employees would not willingly fly an aircraft in such a condition in any western country; after the landing in Beijing, I would expect any western airline to pull the plane out of service at the aircrews report.

            PS I've flown Hainan Airlines a few times, old 737s, but spotlessly maintained - at least on the inside. Very smooth flights with soft landings.

            I holidayed in Hainan province (just north of Sanya), in 2008, beautiful countryside and beaches; although even then you could see the over-development in many locations around Sanya was starting to spoil the place.

        2. Triggerfish

          Re: Roewe IS Rover

          Can't comment for China but some of the other Asian onesaren't bad, just flown Vietnamese Airlines and it was better than Emirates, ethihad or Qatar in cattle class. Thai airways is OK as well.

  7. Doc Ock

    Is it as safe as their lifts ?

    I'll take the stairs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      as long

      as they aren't these fancy moving stairways they seem to be unable to make safe.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: as long

        "as they aren't these fancy moving stairways they seem to be unable to make safe"

        You know escalators over here work the same way and could have the same issues if not closed properly?

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: as long

        You mean the same moving stairways that caused the massive fire at Kings Cross? You know... the wooden ones (that caught fire from a discarded fag end) because we couldn't be bothered to install steel ones? Yeah. Enough said.

        Let the blameless one be the first to cast stones...

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: as long

          ... the wooden ones ...

          We used to have one of those in the Park St T station in Boston, not too long ago (10 years back?).

          Here we are in the 21st century, I thought to myself, and I'm riding along on something that was built in the 19th. Oldest subway system in the US. Piece 'o' history, it is. I suppose it's been replaced by now.

          Didn't think of the danger of fire, just amazed that it was still in service (wonder who maintained it and where they got the parts?)

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: as long

            Anything built back then was built to such a standard that I suspect that maintenance probably consists of adding oil and grease rather than replacement of half of the moving components. Nobody would sell spare components of course, you'd just take the existing component to a machine shop and ask nicely for a unbroken part to be machined.

  8. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    99 orders secured

    Their airlines have been told to order 99 cabs.

  9. DougS Silver badge

    But can it do a barrel roll?

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/60-years-ago-the-famous-boeing-707-barrel-roll-over-lake-washington/

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: But can it do a barrel roll?

      I'd imagine that most commercial airliners could, if you had the guts. Concorde certainly could (about 3 mins in), though of course that 'plane was built more like a fighter jet :-)

      M.

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: But can it do a barrel roll?

      ...H.F.S. !! I had no idea this had been done (in controlled flight anyway)

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: But can it do a barrel roll?

        Interesting to note here that the pilot in question - well the more famous of the two - earned an OBE but was later stripped of all flying duties for landing at Heathrow with a 25 minute reserve, when the airline minimum was 30 minutes.

        M.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: But can it do a barrel roll?

          "but was later stripped of all flying duties for landing at Heathrow with a 25 minute reserve, when the airline minimum was 30 minutes."

          That's a safety rule - which is there for good reason... So no surprise they took such an issue seriously.

  10. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Don't forget Bombardier CS300...

    Assembled in Canada. Excellent fuel economy.

    One thing that needs to be sorted out is the definition of "Dumping". When Boeing gives away aircraft at 65% off the list price, it's not "dumping" only because they didn't cross a border. If Bombardier does something similar, Boeing cries "Dumping!" only because there's a border involved.

    If we're going to have free trade, then we can't have companies playing games with borders. In other words, within an integrated trading block such as NAFTA, there should be no such thing as 'dumping'. Else, forget it.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Don't forget Bombardier CS300...

      And the Embraear 195.

      At one point I would have thought the Sukhoi Superjet could have been a contender, but they seem to have gone quiet since they had a crash in Indonesia during a demonstration flight.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget Bombardier CS300...

        Sukhoi didn't go quiet after the Indonesia crash. The embargoes that were slapped on Russia are the problem. The SSJ is in use by Mexican and Irish airlines... However, given the embargo, this is proving to be 'interesting' for support issues.

        The Bombardier CSeries has almost cost the company everything to the point where they're considering selling their train business (merging it with Siemens), but boy are SWISS and airBaltic happy with their examples so far! It'll be a slow burner... like the Embraer E-Jets (which are now practically everywhere).

        :-)

        1. Throatwobbler Mangrove

          Re: Don't forget Bombardier CS300...

          Sukhoi is not subject to sanctions.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't forget Bombardier CS300...

        Mike noted, "...they seem to have gone quiet since they had a crash....during a demonstration flight."

        Airbus survived their infamous Paris Airshow landing in the forest.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Don't forget Bombardier CS300...

      "One thing that needs to be sorted out is the definition of "Dumping". "

      In this case, maybe 'emitting crap' would be the appropriate definition?

  11. Nifty

    "Boeing and Airbus each have backlogs of thousands of their own single-aisle planes and struggle to increase production."

    So when the EU mandarins want to play trade wars to punish Brexit UK, it's not going to help Airbus much, eh?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Why would the EU mandarins have to punish the UK over Brexit?

      Our own shower of shit glorious leadership are doing the job or ruining the UK perfectly well without any assistance.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Grow up Nifty.

      Nobody want's to punish you, it's just that you can't have your cake and eat it too.

      As for Airbus, yes they are worried about the "no deal", moving the wing manufacturing is an obstruction and costly but will happen if the economics demand it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get ready for dumping, offsetting loses through local market favouritism etc etc. But if it gives us cheaper stuff we'll do nothing.

  13. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    The proof of this particular pudding will be in the...

    ... not crashing. Something that, if the worst should happen, no amount of state propaganda and obfuscation won't be able to obscure.

  14. imanidiot Silver badge

    Those backlogs are artificial

    Both boeing and airbus could more than likely invest enough to build a production line capable of delivering those aircraft in a more timely manner. They won't because they know they can create artificial scarseness and keep their company reliably working for longer if they they don't.

    In any case I probably wouldn't fly on one of these. Because I know how chinese culture works and I know how the aviation safety culture SHOULD work. And the 2 are near polar opposites.

  15. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Enjoy it while you can. I reckon cheap mass air travel has 20 years left, tops.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      OK, fine

      Twenty years will see me out. Finally, travel insurance for old geezers becomes more expensive than the flight.

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Based on?

      I assume the scarcity of oil based propellants?

      If thats the case then I think you should look at the aviation biofuels currently in development - The price might go up a bit but not significantly more than the current cost of oil extraction and refinement.

  16. arcticfox

    I seriously don't want to fly in one. I won't even buy underpants made in China so I'm never going to put my arse into one of their planes.

  17. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    I would be stupid

    I would be just stupid to underestimate the Chinese, they are supported by a growing huge home market (not 1b but 1.4b) and every C919 they build will be as many off other manufacturers books.

    The nine years is not bad at all, the Dreamliner was announced in 2003 with its first flight in 2009 and introduction in 2011.

    The number of companies involved in building it is quite interesting too.

    "Subcontracted assemblies included wing manufacture (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan, central wing box)[38] horizontal stabilizers (Alenia Aeronautica, Italy; Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea);[39] fuselage sections (Global Aeronautica, Italy; Boeing, North Charleston, US; Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japan; Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita, US; Korean Air, South Korea);[40][41][42] passenger doors (Latécoère, France); cargo doors, access doors, and crew escape door (Saab AB, Sweden); software development (HCL Enterprise India);[43] floor beams (TAL Manufacturing Solutions Limited, India);[44][45] wiring (Labinal, France);[46] wing-tips, flap support fairings, wheel well bulkhead, and longerons (Korean Air, South Korea);[47] landing gear (Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, UK/France);[48][49] and power distribution and management systems, air conditioning packs (Hamilton Sundstrand, Connecticut, US)".

    (Talk about US built)

    And I would claim the next sentence is a bit silly, of course they will feel pressure, eventually.

    "But the wider aviation industry won't feel competitive pressure, as the C919 includes parts from many established aviation companies, including CFM's Leap engines".

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only 99 orders?

    Is it not listed on Aliexpress yet?

  19. Griffo

    So I know this bloke...

    I happen to know an engineer who worked on this particular aircraft. He's an ex=-pat aeronautical engineer brought in by the Chinese government to give some outside expertise.

    Long story short, he said he'd never allow anyone in his family to fly on one.

  20. Nathan 13

    Are there

    any genuine parts on the aircraft, or are they all fake?

  21. mediabeing

    It was just too difficult to show us what the vehicle actually looks like, eh?

    If that was too hard for you to accomplish, you should quit.

    We need journalists, not hobbyists, writing the copy.

    There's something called 'Show and Tell'. Look into it.

    1. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

      Thanks for all the good journalism tips, Mediabeing. This is great stuff, keep it coming....

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