Irkut’s MC-21-300 commercial jet flew this week to Arkhangelsk airport in the White Sea region of Russia to fly over natural ice conditions.
The aircraft, registration 73051, is the number one prototype that flew for the first time in 2017 and recently underwent a runway excursion.
According to UAC, “the combination of high humidity and low temperatures in the airspace of the region contributes to the formation of ice on the surfaces of the aircraft. In the course of about 20 flights, the effectiveness of the anti-ice systems MC-21-300 and the ability of the aircraft as a whole to fly safely under these conditions will be tested.”
To record the aircraft’s operation in ice zones, special equipment is installed, including 12 video cameras, the company explained.
The Russian government hopes to certify the aircraft as early as 2021 to start deliveries to Aeroflot shortly thereafter. The MC-21-300 is the variant equipped with the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G turbofans, as well as three other test aircraft.
Irkut is also developing the MC-21-310, the only prototype of which uses the Russian Aviadvigatel PD-14 engine.
With capacity for up to 211 passengers, the MC-21 is the most advanced commercial jet ever developed by Russia and competes with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, although UAC has strict plans to offer it on the foreign market due to trade embargoes.