Composite Usage for China’s New C919 Midsize Airliner Program

, Senior Vice President – Solver products

My colleague Ming Zhou has contributed the following post:

At the recent COMAC Composite Forum in Shanghai, we heard a good deal about the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China’s use of composites in the C919, the company’s first product, a single-aisle plane designed to compete with the A320 and B737 later in the decade.

According to a presentation by Dr. Zhou, deputy chief designer for COMAC responsible for structures, composite usage on the C919 is around 20 percent. This is significantly higher than the composite percentage on other airliners in this category, like the A320 and B737; however, it is much lower than that of new wide-body programs from Boeing and Airbus, specifically the B787 and A350XWB, which are essentially full-composite airframes. The higher level of composite usage should make the C919 competitive against the newly launched, re-engined A320Neo and B737MAX programs, with aircraft due for delivery in 2016 and 2017, respectively. First flight and delivery of the C919 – which has a payload and dimensions very similar to those of the A320, with a base capacity of 168 seats – are scheduled for 2014 and 2016, respectively.

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