MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) — The MC-21 mid-rage passenger airliner, which was manufactured at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant and rolled out in Irkutsk on June 8, is "a revolutionary achievement in terms of production culture and technology," said Professor Valery Komarov from Samara State University.
Komarov said the project took a bit longer than expected, but "engineers have ultimately realized their desire to create an airplane for the 21st century, as you can see from its name, MC-21."
He said that it is Russia's first airplane made of composite materials and that the liner's main unit was made using vacuum infusion technology. "This is the first time we used large all-composite units. This fact alone allows us to say that this is a fundamentally new aircraft," the professor said.
Besides, the airplane's gross takeoff weight is unprecedentedly small for its passenger capacity.
"Since airport and other fees are calculated based on an airplane's takeoff weight, this is another evidence of the new airplane's efficiency," Komarov said. He believes that the MC-21 will have low fuel consumption rate, or more precisely, less than 20 grams of fuel consumed per passenger per kilometer. "Taken together, this makes the MC-21 an airliner of the 21st century. This is a major achievement for the aircraft industry and a revolution in terms of production culture and technology," he said.
When commenting on skeptic views on the strength of composite materials, the expert proposed "organizing visits to the AeroComposit-Ulyanovsk plant, so that everyone will be able to see the conditions in which the airliner is made. It is really a treat," he added. "They are trying to frighten us by citing problems that the use of these materials will allegedly create. But they have no proof. Here is a solid fact: during the trials I broke several metal units against an all-composite unit. This shows the difference between traditional and cutting-edge alloys. I'm all for composite materials, and not just theoretically, because I work with them," Komarov said.