An ARJ21 jet completed an extended test flight at Daocheng Yading Airport in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the world’s highest civil airport at an altitude of 4,411 meters, and returned to Shanghai, the aircraft’s manufacturer said on Thursday.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) said the successful test flight demonstrated the aircraft’s take-off and landing capabilities when flying into a plateau airport.
A plateau airport is an airport located at an altitude higher than 1,500 meters. Plateau airports are usually within the 1,500-2,438 meter range, and high plateau airports are at 2,438 meters and above. High altitude airports have thin air, complex terrain and changeable weather, meaning they require aircraft to have higher performance and operational support capabilities.
China has the most high-altitude airports of all countries, with 19 high-altitude airports, mainly in western regions.
When the ARJ21 was first designed, its plateau performance was a focus.
In June 2013 and September 2017, the ARJ21 underwent altitude test flights at Golmud Airport (2,842 meters above sea level) and Huatugou Airport (2,905 meters above sea level), both located in Northwest China’s Qinghai Province.
The test flight at Daocheng Yading Airport demonstrated the ARJ21’s maximum take-off and landing altitude capabilities and verified the aircraft’s reliability and performance in plateau conditions, COMAC said.
In June, three ARJ21 regional passenger planes were delivered to major domestic airlines in Shanghai, marking the homegrown jetliner’s entrance into the domestic, mainstream civil aviation market.