back to article China churns out homemade aircraft for global travel DOMINATION

China is ramping up its plans for domination of international civil airspace with recent deals to flog its home-grown aircraft set to cause a few sweaty palms at Boeing and Airbus. Spearheading this push is the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) C919, a 168-190 seat narrow-body airline design which will be China’s …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just look at the crash testing videos of chinese cars on YouTube...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Optional

      Indeed it is interesting that they fold up like wet cardboard boxes, but lets not underestimate China's ability to learn and develop. If they decide they really want to make a world-class aircraft, I have no doubt that they *could* do it.

      The car-crash videos I saw were of distinctly old-looking vehicles, and on the face of things the rate of development in what thay manufacture is huge. (appreciated, the modern-looking copies we saw on Top Gear are probably made out of scaffold poles and tin cans underneath)

      Not sure I'd want to fly in their aircraft though; truth and openness (if I dare use those terms) are not necessarily treated in the same way as among the western aircraft-makers and authorities and what you see isn't necessarily going to be what you're getting.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Don't worry, they are as safe as Boeing Aircraft

        And funny enough, look just like Boeing planes, and seem to be 100% parts-compatible as well. But all that is purely coincidence.

        1. Mephistro

          Re: Don't worry, they are as safe as Boeing Aircraft

          You accidentally pressed the 'Joke Alert' icon when making your post. Be more careful next time! ;-)

      2. Mark 65

        Re: Re: Optional

        "Indeed it is interesting that they fold up like wet cardboard boxes, but lets not underestimate China's ability to learn and develop. If they decide they really want to make a world-class aircraft, I have no doubt that they *could* do it."

        Let's not underestimate their ability to snoop and copy. However their entire industrial process is built upon the foundations of cheap labour, zero quality control and shite standards. I will certainly not be travelling in any aircraft of theirs until there is a very long and consistently safe history.

        As for their cars, no they are not old vehicles. The videos you've seen may have been but even their most up-to-date models mainly have 3 stars for crash safety which normally equates to "dead". Great Wall, Chery etc. All cheap-arsed 4-wheeled coffins.

      3. Chris Parsons

        Re: Optional

        Their light aircraft are pretty damned good.

  2. jai


    i saw the Top Gear episode on the cars. they may look exactly like western cars from the outside, but when inside them, the differences in build quality were apparent. that's bad enough with a car, where you're travelling at speed along the ground, but i'm not so sure i'd be so happy in an aircraft travelling at speed 30,000 feet in the air...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: cars

      That is normal for a copy. In fact it is the tell-tale sign of a copy.

      A modern car that has been engineered properly uses a variety of steel at different thickness in the panels to ensure that crumple zones operate correctly. Example - my little runabout has anything from 3+mm on the sides down to "paper thin" on the bonnet. This contributes quite a lot to the cost of the car because of the different tooling, supplies, tolerances, etc.

      If you copy it without following the thickness profiles to the letter it will be cheaper, but the entirely crumple zone engineering goes to hell. That is exactly what Top Gear has managed to demonstrate so eloquently.

      They should have actually done a proper car show and showed why by taking a gauge and a drill and going around a Yaris/Auris and a Great Wall's to show what did the Chinese "omit" when copying.

      Coming back to the "thickness" and copying - this is doubly so for aircraft. Modern aircraft which was copied verbatim without complying to the exact thickness profiles on skin and trusses is guaranteed to start cracking from metal fatigue sooner rather than later.

  3. Jason Hindle

    I really don't like flying

    But I fly a lot. I feel safe(ish) on a Boeing or (to a slightly lesser to extent) an Airbus but would prefer to avoid dodgy Russian built aircraft. Unproven Chinese commercial aircraft? You'll have to drug and knock me out before you get me on one of those you fool!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I really don't like flying

      Here, no-one is going to make you fly, now drink this milk.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: I really don't like flying

        > Here, no-one is going to make you fly, now drink this milk.

        I 'aint getting on no plane, fool.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: I really don't like flying

      Dude, you have no idea what you are talking about. The key aviation safety metric is "incident per hour" and "incident per mile"

      On that metric the old generation of Russian aircraft - Tu134, Tu154 and Yak 40 (not 42) have _BETTER_ safety records than their counterparts - MD-80 and the original Boeing 737 (this even before you take into account the maintenance they got and the airports they used to fly from). A friend of mine - one of the pilots from the ex-Soviet block (now EU) flag carrier's used to say: "This is Tu, it will fly under water if you tell it to". He flies an Airbus nowdays by the way.

      There is nothing dodgy about the old Tus and the original Yak. Uncomfortable, noisy, overengineered semi military aircraft - yes they are all of that, but not dodgy. In fact, If we are talking about dodgy MD-80 which is still allowed to fly in the EU is way dodgier than them (thankfully now as Spanair is defunct a lot of them went out of circulation).

      The dodgy thing is not the aircraft, it is the companies in this case. A company that still flies them is definitely dodgy because they have been written off 3 times over now on account of passed maximum MTBF. I mean literally 3 when I say 3 times over. Once by a Eastern European or ex-USSR flag carrier, once by the Chinese (who bought them after that) and once by someone else after the Chinese wrote them off. If a company is flying this kind of aircraft I will not get into _ANY_ aircraft which it flies - even the shiniest brand new Airbus 32x or Boeing 737-800.

      P.S. As an example of "flies under water" open and browse 154s landing in the UK. You will see more than one psychotic pilot executing _REVERSE_ throttle while still in the air and landing literally out of a stall. Want to try that on a 737? do not think so... You will be splattered across the runway straight away.

  4. easyk

    what is it a copy of

    I looked up the Comac’s ARJ21 in the article and it is a copy of the MD-80, built using boeing supplied tooling. What is this new one copy of?

    1. LB45
      Black Helicopters

      Re: what is it a copy of

      Depends on who they stole the plans from.

  5. Ryan 7

    How to solve the Chinese copyright leniency issues:

    The Federal Trade Commission tells the FAA to refuse aircraft certification until the Chinese authorities buck up their act. Give them a taste of their own medicine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How to solve the Chinese copyright leniency issues:

      That might stop them flying to the States but not the rest of the world. And won't International agreements limit the ability of the US civil authorities to restrict if the Chinese aviation authorities have approved it?

      1. Dan Hall

        Re: Re: How to solve the Chinese copyright leniency issues:

        It's not just the flight cert that will stop them selling crap planes to the rest of the world... or at least to the West.

        It's the vaunted Chinese reputation for quality control, precision machine work, accuracy in following plans, and transparency and plain dealing with inspectors. Combine how resistant Chinese government officials are to bribery and the sterling reputation of Chinese products for longevity and solid construction, and you'll soon see these planes in service... nowhere outside China.

        1. Jason Ozolins
          Thumb Up

          Re: Re: Re: How to solve the Chinese copyright leniency issues:

          Yes, not just the flight cert indeed... I can feel a Young Ones quote coming on:

          " 'Tis for my accent that I am condemned; for the want of better graces, and the influences they bring."

          "And for all them murders you done..."

          "Oh yes, there was that."

          From the Aviation Week article:

          "While an industry official familiar with the C919’s design says it will not have the faults of the ARJ21, the latter aircraft’s track record does not bode well for rapid certification flight tests. The ARJ21’s faults have included problems with the flight control system and an aluminum-alloy wing that broke before reaching its ultimate load."

          So the wings could fall off their old plane as first built, but the new one will be much better. Hmm, I'd rather see that play out in a country where there is a social contract between the people and those in power that laws be applied consistently and transparently. That contract may be broken more often that we'd like by "Western" governments, but it is at least held up as how the system is supposed to work. I am reminded of a recently heard quote from a Chinese official that there are no dissidents in China, just criminals...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How to solve the Chinese copyright leniency issues:

      "Federal Trade Commission tells the FAA to refuse aircraft certification"

      That would be a non-tariff trade hurdle and surely violate numerous conventions. Of course any country can start to do that, with the risk of retaliation and finally the risk of becoming an uncompetitive backwards country.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Re: How to solve the Chinese copyright leniency issues:

        A bit like the EU carbon tax on flights in/out of EU destinations.

  6. Ilsa Loving

    I'll stay away, thank you

    If they make their planes the same way they make their trains, I'll stay very well away, thank you very much. The last thing I want to worry about when I'm hovering 20000 feet above the earths crust, is if the safety inspectors were paid off to overlook little bitty details, like the wings being duct-taped to the fuselage.

    1. Z80

      Re: I'll stay away, thank you


      The Chinese have based these new aircraft on Harrier jump-jets?

  7. Mondo the Magnificent

    On the upside...

    Comac are using foreign made engines and avionics, so this adds to the confidence levels, however it's the airframe that holds it all together

    Now I have to wonder if we'll reading articles on how Comac pay and treat their workers.. oh, wat.. it's an Avionics company, not a Tech company, so I guess we'll hear diddly squat about the workers' plight...

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Nation shall speak Peace unto Nation *

    Ok ... this might be a little different, but then it is. But it is simple to do with IT Now.

    Would it be easier and safer if China shared its dreams so they can be built with Great Universal Input and IntelAIgent Technologies? Their present industry has invented whole vacant cities ready for Life in Live Operational Virtual Environments Streams with Red Hot Control Zones ….. which could be an Absolutely Fabulous Fabless Program to Virtualise into a Future Reality Hub …….. Present Product Placement Source ….. AIMother Lode of SMART Nodes Sharing Freely Insider Information on Future IntelAIgent Missions.

    * A revision of which, washed out and watered down in translation, was more directly "nation shall not lift up a sword against nation".

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Brazil Pulled It off, Japan Did Not

    So what about China ? At least their engine efforts seem to be not successful. Let's see.

  10. jubtastic1

    Build quality

    They'll swallow the domestic market first, and planes falling out of the sky usually make the news so the rest off the world will get a heads up on the safety issues.

    Seems to me that I'll live to see China dominate, well pretty much everything, their tech lag seems to drop exponentially, won't be too long untill Chinese stuff isn't just copying but actually superior to western designed (Chinese built) products.

    I for one etc

  11. fissuria
    Paris Hilton

    "Made in China"

    This will give "Made in China" a whole new meaning...

  12. CmdrX3

    No doubt it will be called the Boeang 737 series (and any resemblence to any other aircraft will be purely coincidental). I think the icon pretty much covers why I will be avoiding being on one.

  13. DanceMan


    When I were a lad in the fifties, "Made in Japan" meant cheap junk. By the sixties it meant the best cameras, by the eighties the best inexpensive cars. There is crime in Japan too, and some corruption no doubt (Olympus) but that doesn't negate their products. I think over time we will see China become a world class manufacturer. With its control of population growth, it will eventually no longer be a cheap labour manufacturer. That category will pass to countries like India that can't or won't control population growth.

  14. Herby

    Just one more letter in the alphabet..

    We have 'A' planes: Airbus

    We have 'B' planes: Boeing

    Now we have 'C' planes: China.

    We had 'D' plane: Douglas (now part of Boeing!)

    Then there is a saying a friend of mine has (he works for United maintenance): It's Boeing, or I'm not going! (He didn't like Airbus much).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just one more letter in the alphabet..

      E planes: Easyjet

      1. Mako

        Re: Re: Just one more letter in the alphabet..

        E = Embraer.

        A highly successful Brazilian manufacturer of short-medium range jets.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Having worked in aerospace a number of years ago I saw how component manufacturers were being approached by the Chinese to move work to China for cost saving - the fact that they were also effectively handling over all the tech and tooling to the Chinese didn't seem to factor into the equation.

    China didn't have to steal the plans in a lot of cases companies gladly handed them over in result for a reduction in cost.

    I'd guess this isn't restricted to any one industry though.

    1. f8sh

      Re: china

      People already flying on a made-in-china planes, they just don't know it. Airbus has an entire A-320 assembly plant in Tianjin, same with Embraert ERJ-45. The center fuselage and wing-box of the new Bombardier C-Series are also China-made, all by COMAC's parent company.

  16. ian 22

    Boeing, Airbus, et al

    Have they registered trademarques in China?

    "So sorry, pay us $5,000,000,000 to go away, imperialist western running dogs."

  17. MarkinDurham

    Chinese-built ships aren't the greatest, so as for their aircraft? I'll pass, thanks...

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