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Trip Report: Flying the World’s First COMAC C919
On May 28, a China Eastern COMAC C919 took to the sky and began the first commercial flight of the Chinese-manufactured jet. Since then, COMAC’s C919 was placed on the route between Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport and Chengdu’s Tianfu International Airport. This aircraft has attracted a lot of aviation enthusiasts, both from home and abroad, to experience it. Recently, I had the opportunity to fly onboard the world’s only COMAC C919 in service, and I would like to bring you with me on this trip.
The flight, China Eastern MU9197, was scheduled to take off at 8:10 a.m. and land at 11:20 a.m. local time. The aircraft was parked at a remote stand, which allowed me to take some shots of the aircraft before stepping onto it. The aircraft, registration B-919A, was labeled with “The world’s first C919” logo.
The nose of the aircraft was very smooth, with gigantic cockpit windows. The wing of the aircraft was also unique, and very identifiable. The engine of this aircraft was the LEAP-1C, very similar to those of Boeing’s 737 MAX and Airbus A320neos’ LEAP engines. Overall, the appearance of the aircraft was quite aesthetic.
Onboard the Flight
The flight was almost fully packed with passengers. China Eastern designed its COMAC C919 to be in a 164-seat configuration, with eight business class seats and 156 economy class seats. Only 10 seats were empty onboard the flight, and, among the passengers, a third of them were aviation enthusiasts who flew to Shanghai from all over the country to experience the C919.
The adjustable ceiling lights and earth-colored seats and carpet formed a harmonic appearance. The economy class legroom was regular, with about a fist to spear between my legs and the seat in front of me (I am about six feet tall).
The noise level was another surprise for this flight. The noise was noticeably low throughout the trip, and it hovered around 72 dB to 78 dB during different stages of the flight. The LEAP engine was a huge contributor to this wonderful performance, and a fine aerodynamic design also helped C919 to reduce the noise during flight.
The flight from Shanghai to Chengdu was about 2 hours and 30 minutes. During the flight, breakfast was served, with a Chow Main and specially designed ‘World’s first C919’ logo on the desert.
China Eastern put a considerable amount of thoughts into the C919 services. The ‘World’s first C919’ was planted at every corner of the aircraft, from paper cups to food pallets; a new safety demonstration video was made with new storylines and beautiful shots; the cabin crews were specially trained to help enthusiasts onboard to take pictures and filling out their flight logs.
We arrived at Chengdu’s Tianfu International Airport at 11 a.m. local time, 20 minutes ahead of schedule. After a smooth taxi to the gate, we arrived at the terminal and concluded our trip on this new jet.
Overall, COMAC C919 was an excellent product that delights passengers with a high-quality flight experience. China Eastern has also put a considerable amount of thought into making the C919 experience unique. This jet still has a long way to go in competing with Airbus’ A320 or Boeing’s 737 in the international market, but over time, I am confident that more and more passengers will be able to hop onboard a C919.
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