Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC)
Pudong, Shanghai, China
Founded in May 2008, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) is a Chinese state-owned aerospace manufacturer established headquartered in Shanghai, China. According to one source online, the company has a registered capital of RMB 19 billion ($2.7 billion USD as of May 2008). The corporation designs and manufacturers three different large jetliners, named the ARJ21 Xiangfeng, C919 and the CR929. The largest jetliner the company proposes to make is currently called the C939.
During a December 8-10, 2020 virtual conference called the "2020 Online E Flight Forum" with a verbose tag line: "The first forum on electric aviation in China, VTOL-, LSA-, Hybrid, Engine-, Battery-, Manufacturers, Regulators, Investors, from around the world," while the online event had some technical problems, it was revealed that the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China is in the process of making an hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft for Urban Air Mobility (UAM).
In a surprise announcement during the conference, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China revealed they are well on its way to making a hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft named the ET120. During the online conference, the company had pictures and graphics of the half-scale demonstrator. The subscale prototype is reminiscent of a small private plane and has one high main wing, a rear T-tail, two booms on the high wing (near the fuselage), each boom with four fixed VTOL propellers and has a pusher propeller for forward flight. The ET120 has a grand total of nine propellers. You might notice that the pusher propeller is located at the top rear of the passenger compartment.
The model shows that the aircraft will have a wrap-around window for good views for the pilot and passengers. Artist conceptions reveal the company has looked at both fixed wheeled landing gear and fixed skid type landing gear. On a Jan. 9, 2021 press release, the company has stated they are looking at 5G technology for autonomous flight for their electric aircraft.
On January 9, 2021, Beijing Aircraft Technology Research Center held a ceremony revealing their full-scale hybrid-electric VTOL demonstrator named the ET480. The Shanghai Research Institute of China's COMAC unveiled its Tian Gong (天工) electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) sub-scale model on Dec. 22, 2020.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric subscale VTOL aircraft demonstrator
- Piloting: Unknown
- Capacity: Demonstrator with 0 passengers. Production aircraft are planned for 1, 4 and a 19 seat version
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Range: Unknown
- Propellers: 9 propellers (8 for VTOL flight, 1 pusher propeller for forward flight)
- Electric Motors: 9
- Power source: Batteries
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber
- Windows: Panoramic windows with wrap around window design allowing forward, left, right visibility, for spectacular views
- Wings: 1 high wing with two booms on the wing (close to the fuselage), each boom has 4 stationary VTOL propellers
- Landing gear: Fixed wheeled landing gear
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. The aircraft can also land like an airplane in case the VTOL propellers stop working.
- Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China website
- Beijing Aircraft Technology Research Center web page
- Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Wikipedia
- Article: Working with China, Royal Aeronautical Society, June 26, 2020
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