First flying on 28 May 2017, the Irkut MC-21 is a modern twin engine jet airliner. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G geared turbofans, future aircraft will also use newly developed Aviadvigatel PD-14 engines. The MC-21 is designed to compete in the segment dominated by the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX families.
While Irkut and its parent company United Aircraft Corporation might be unfamiliar to aviation types, its designer, the Yakolev Design Bureau, will ring a bell. This famous company built the popular Yakolev Yak-40 among others. Let’s have a look at this new Russian airliner.
All About The Irkut MC-21
The easiest way to give you all the pertinent information about the Irkut MC-21 is through video. Below is a 13 minute production by Skyships Eng, a channel which does consistently great aviation videos.
Rockwell Collins produces the flight deck and they are also responsible for the cockpit on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Comac C919. This collaboration between Russia and western suppliers has been going on for many years now.
One of the facts I found most fascinating is that the new Russian airliner features a cabin width of 3.81 metres. This makes it the widest in its class, beating both the Airbus A320 (3.70m) and Boeing 737 (3.54m).
With seating for 132 to 165 in the MC-21-200 and 163 to 211 in the MC-21-300 version, it should prove popular. The aircraft has a range of up to 6,400 kilometres and 174 orders have been placed to date. These are virtually all with Russian airlines.
Engine Water Ingress Tests
There is an excellent video called “Испытания самолета МС-21-300 по защите от попадания воды в двигатели” (Tests of MC-21-300 aircraft for protection against water ingress into engines) which is worth checking out. In just over two minutes, you get to see the tests and some very well done shots of the aircraft.
It’s quite a pretty aircraft, isn’t it? I think it looks like an Airbus A321 mainly, with Bombardier CSeries (I know, I know, it’s an Airbus A220 now) cockpit windows. The video is a great showcase for the plane, that’s for sure!
With around half the flight testing completed, it is expected the Irkut MC-21 will enter service in 2021. While it will be with Russian airlines, perhaps someday we will see other airlines operating the plane too, as Russian aircraft design is just as good as those created in Europe and the United States.
The issue has always been around the support system once in service. Stories of long waits for spare parts among other niggles mean that non-Russian airlines shy away from making purchases. Mexico’s InterJet and Ireland’s CityJet both experienced difficulty in this area with the Sukhoi SuperJet aircraft they ordered.
Did you enjoy the videos about the Irkut MC-21? What are your thoughts on this new Russian airliner? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia via Wikimedia Commons.