What will we fly in the near future

Technological progress does not stand still, and in the near future, new aircraft will be born that will carry millions of passengers.

Russian liner with a “black wing”

The main Russian aviation novelty is the MS-21 medium-haul passenger airliner, the first flight of which took place in the spring of 2017, and the start of serial production is scheduled for 2021. The MS-21 was developed at the Yakovlev Design Bureau, which is part of the Irkut Aircraft Corporation, and is a redesign of the Yak-242 aircraft, which was developed in the early nineties. The MS-21 will be the first domestic aircraft made of 35% composite materials – an indicator that may not be the most outstanding by today’s standards, but for the Russian aircraft industry this is a significant step forward.

In addition, the MS-21 has the widest interior among classmates, and this should have a positive impact on its market prospects. In all other respects, this is a typical modern narrow-body medium-haul aircraft with a flight range of up to 6,400 kilometers and a passenger capacity of 130 to 211 people, depending on the modification. The MS-21 will compete with such world best-sellers as the Boeing-737 and Airbus A320, that is, it will have to perform in the real “group of death”, where these two aircraft rule for a long time and confidently, not letting strangers into their market segment. And this segment is very tempting – its capacity for the next 20 years is about 30,000 liners, and it is clear that for such a tasty morsel the struggle there is not for life, but for death.

Currently, the leader is the Airbus A320, but its main competitor, the Boeing 737, has seriously “blipped” with the crude 737 MAX model. Software bugs led to two disasters and a high-profile scandal that inflicted serious financial and reputational losses on the American airline company. It would seem that against such a background, competitors have a good opportunity to steal some of Boeing’s customers, but the fact is that the Russian MS-21 and the Chinese C919, which will be discussed below, will enter the line only in 2021, and by this time the Americans promise to fix all Boeing 737 MAX problems.

But do not forget about the Russian market, whose capacity for the next 20 years is estimated at 800-1000 narrow-body aircraft. This means that with appropriate state support, the MS-21 can take part of the domestic aviation market. Moreover, the aircraft will cost less than American and European competitors, and operating costs should be on average 7% less than those of opponents.

The first serial MS-21s will be equipped with American Pratt & Whitney PW-1400G engines, but from 2022 the aircraft will be equipped with the latest Russian PD-14 turbofan engines, which will bring the share of domestic components in the aircraft design to 75%. Nevertheless, it will be very difficult for the MS-21 to enter the world market, given the highest competition in this segment. However, 175 airliners have already been contracted, which will allow us to take a good “run-up” and reach the planned production volume of 70 aircraft per year by 2025.

Well, then everything will depend on what conditions the United Aircraft Corporation PJSC will offer to potential buyers and how successfully it organizes after-sales service for aircraft. After all, it is not enough to develop a good liner, it is equally important to establish a service department. For Boeing and Airbus, it has been debugged for a long time and works practically without failures, but PJSC “UAC” has only to create it.


Chinese classmate competitor

The first economy in the world – the People’s Republic of China – simply by definition could not help but develop its own aviation industry. Although it is very difficult to compete with giants such as Boeing and Airbus, the Chinese government has set the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) an ambitious task – to intervene in the cabal of Western aircraft manufacturers and win back a part of the market.

The “first sign” was the regional airliner ARJ21, although not without problems, but still launched in a series in 2014, and then COMAC decided to invade the segment where the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 are in the first roles and where the Russian MS will soon appear -21. The development of the narrow-body medium-haul airliner COMAC C919 began in 2010, and the Chinese aircraft manufacturers, when creating the aircraft, took into account the opinion of the largest European low-cost airline Ryan Air.

The liner made its first flight in 2017, and mass production should begin in 2021. From a technical point of view, COMAC C919 is not particularly distinguished by anything and is inferior to MS-21 in many respects. While the whole world is switching to composite wings and fuselages, the proportion of composites in the design of Chinese aircraft is small.

But it just has a huge number of foreign components, albeit partially localized, which should facilitate the certification process: American and European avionics, Franco-American CFM Leap-1C engines, in general, in terms of the share of foreign components, the C919 is not far from its younger brother ARJ21, which is almost 99% “foreign”. The length of the C919 is 35.8 meters, the wingspan is 38.9 meters, the maximum takeoff weight is 77,300 kg, the flight range can reach 5,550 kilometers, the maximum speed is 920 km/h, and the ceiling is 12,000 meters.

In the future, the share of imported components will be reduced: at present, work is underway on Chinese CJ-1000A engines, and avionics and a number of other parts and assemblies will also be “imported”. This will reduce the price of the liner, although it is still very attractive – according to preliminary data, the basic modification of the C919 will cost almost half as much as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, about $60 million. COMAC currently has over 800 pre-orders, mostly from Chinese airlines. In total, over the next 20 years, COMAC plans to sell more than 2,000 aircraft, which will make the C919 the most massive airliner in the history of the Chinese aviation industry.


The first Turkish multi-purpose helicopter

In recent years, Turkey has been increasingly turning into a manufacturer of modern aviation equipment and quite successfully “import substitution”. Last year, the first flight was made by the latest Turkish multi-purpose helicopter TAI T625 Gökbey (“Master of the Sky”), developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries.

To be more precise, this helicopter is a Turkish rethinking of one of the most popular multi-purpose rotorcraft – the Italo-British AgustaWestland AW139. Externally, the T625 Gökbey is almost indistinguishable from its counterpart, but it has different characteristics. It is equipped with less powerful engines and has a lower mass, speed and range. The combined power of the two engines is 2740 hp, the helicopter weighs 6050 kg, the maximum speed is 305 km/h, the cruising speed is 278 km/h, the flight range is 740 kilometers, and the service ceiling is 6000 meters.

In addition to the two crew members, the Turkish “Master of the Sky” can take on board up to 10 passengers. In order to be less dependent on foreign partners, the Turkish company TUSAS Engines is developing new 1400 hp engines, which are planned to be installed on the T625 Gökbey in the future. The start of serial production is scheduled for 2021, the helicopter will be produced in administrative, VIP, ambulance and search and rescue modifications. A significant number of these helicopters should be ordered by the Turkish army and navy.

One of the main advantages of the T625 Gökbey, the developers call its price, which will be less than that of the AgustaWestland AW139 and other helicopters of a similar class, and the fact that with the release of the Master of the Sky, the Turkish aircraft industry will receive the necessary experience in creating modern rotorcraft. Which in the future will allow us to stop borrowing other people’s developments and develop our own, national projects.

A promising novelty from Boeing

After the American aerospace concern Boeing released the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger aircraft in 2004, the Americans did not release new liners. But an aging fleet of aircraft such as the Boeing 757 and 767 forced them to begin developing the successor to the two aircraft, predictably named the Boeing 797. This aircraft, according to the developers, should surpass its predecessors in terms of economy and comfort: thanks to the extensive use of composites and light alloys , the gain in weight should be about 15 tons, and the comfort of passengers should be ensured by the oval fuselage.

This solution was used earlier on some business jets, which allowed passengers to stand in the cabin to their full height, but the Boeing 797 fuselage will be flattened not from the sides, but from above and below. This will make it possible to increase the cabin width to 4.92 m, which is 20 cm more than that of the Boeing 767. The aircraft is supposed to be produced in two versions: with a passenger capacity of 224 people and a flight range of 9300 kilometers and for 265 passengers with a range of 8300 kilometers. Each row will have seven seats separated by two aisles, a standard layout on many modern wide-body aircraft.


The undoubted advantages of the Boeing 797 include a 30% lower cost of operation, as well as the ability to control the aircraft by one pilot, which will save airlines millions of dollars in flight training and salaries. It is assumed that the functions of the co-pilot in the future will be taken over by the ground operator, who will control several aircraft at once.

Major changes in the Boeing 797 development program were introduced by the Boeing 737 MAX disaster, which forced the leadership of the American concern to throw all its efforts into eliminating the problems of this model. According to a number of experts, this could shift the start date for the production of the Boeing 797 from 2025 to 2028. However, many airlines are ready to wait: for example, the American Delta Air Lines is ready to place an order for 200 Boeing 797s to replace the fleet of outdated Boeing 757s and 767s, which are planned to be decommissioned within the next 5-7 years.

According to analysts, the global market capacity is approximately 2000-2500 aircraft of this class, and if the Boeing 797 appears on the market before the beginning of 2030, then it has a very good chance of winning a significant part of it.

Small company with big ambitions

Many aircraft manufacturers are still haunted by one moment – the twenties of the 21st century are coming, and passenger planes are flying at the same speed as they did half a century ago. At the same time, the world aviation industry has not the most positive experience in operating such aircraft as the Tu-144 and Concorde. That’s why major aircraft companies forgot about supersonic aircraft for years, fearing high-profile commercial failures. But many startups are not afraid of failure.

Taking into account the experience of Concorde, the Americans from Boom Supersonic plan to release a supersonic Overture aircraft with a fully composite fuselage and engines, two of which will be located under the delta wing, and the third in the tail section. Overture will be able to make transoceanic flights at speeds of 2,335 km/h at altitudes up to 18,000 meters and will take passengers from New York to London in three hours, and from Los Angeles to Tokyo in six hours, instead of ten or eleven.


Since the cabin of the aircraft will be quite narrow, along each side there will be only one row of seats, separated by an aisle. At the same time, passengers are promised the comfort of a business class, for which they will have to pay a little more than for an economy class ticket. Boom Supersonic, founded five years ago, was able to interest such companies as Virgin Group, Japan Air Lines, which is ready to place an order for 20 aircraft, and French Dassault Systems provides technical support in the design.

At the end of 2018, the Americans were able to attract $150 million in investments, which made it possible to invite 140 employees to work and equip a small factory in Denver, where the construction of an experimental XB-1 aircraft is currently being completed, on which many technical solutions will be tested early next year. . It is expected that the Boom Overture will go on sale in 2025, and the Americans estimated the global market capacity at 1,000 aircraft of this class, which will allow them not only to recoup the project, but also make good money.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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