The Air Current

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Comac’s slow march to the global commercial aerospace stage has a trio of foundational projects: The early days of the ARJ21’s manufacturing and service, preliminary flight tests of a pair of C919s, and supplier selection with Russia for the long-range CRAIC CR929.

The Comac product lineup – like that of its U.S. counterpart – now has a gap between its single-aisle C919 and widebody CR929. China hasn’t shown its cards on a fourth project, but Comac has no intention of stopping at those three airliners.

The Comac V1plus truss-braced wing demonstrator on its first test flight on August 10, 2018. Image courtesy Comac

On August 10, a team of Comac’s aerospace engineers in Shanghai test flew a demonstrator dubbed the “V1plus”, a commercial aircraft concept with a truss-braced wing design. The 1:10 scale demonstrator of the notional full-scale airliner includes four tail and wing-mounted electric engines, along with a canard arrangement mounted under the nose of the aircraft. The design is intended to reduce overall structural weight and required thrust through a longer and more-slender wing supported by a truss structure attached the fuselage. The ultimate goal is to improve aerodynamic efficiency versus a traditional cantilevered wing.

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Jon Ostrower is Editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Prior to launching TAC in June 2018, Ostrower served as Aviation Editor for CNN Worldwide, guiding the network's global coverage of the business and operations of flying. Ostrower joined CNN in 2016 following four and half years at the Wall Street Journal. Based first in Chicago and then in Washington, D.C. he covered Boeing, aviation safety and the business of global aerospace. Before that, Ostrower was editor of the award-winning FlightBlogger for Flightglobal and Flight International Magazine covering the development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other new aircraft programs from 2007 to 2012. Ostrower, a Boston native, graduated from The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs with a bachelor's degree in Political Communication. He is based in Seattle.

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