PD-14-Powered MC-21 Makes International Debut At Dubai Airshow

Credit: Mark Wagner/Aviation Images

DUBAI—Russia’s Irkut has used the Dubai Airshow for the international debut of the MC-21-310 narrowbody aircraft. This modification differs from the baseline MC-21-300 as it includes the new Russian-built PD-14 turbofan, which replaces the standard PW431G. 

This prototype first flew in December 2020 and is currently conducting flight trials in Zhukovsky outside Moscow. 

The aircraft displayed in Dubai features test equipment and a small demo section of the passenger cabin inside.

The MC-21-310 is now performing flight trials alongside the baseline prototypes, but Irkut is cautious about when it will be certified. The manufacturer’s engineer explained to ShowNews that the PD-14-powered aircraft will get supplemental type certificate in Russia after the approval of the baseline MC-21-300. Domestic certification for the baseline aircraft is expected to be achieved by the end of 2021. MC-21-300 prototypes continue extensive flight trials, logging more than 600 flight hours so far out of the planned 800-flight-hour-long certification program.

After MC-21-300 certification is over, one of the first prototypes is expected to be re-engined with the PD-14 to speed-up approval of the MC-21-310.

The PD-14 is the first Russian clean-sheet engine design developed by Perm-based Aviadvigatel, a subsidiary of United Engine Corporation. The powerplant gained a Russian certificate in 2018. This traditional twin-shaft turbofan has a bypass ratio of 8.5:1 which is smaller compared to the ultrahigh 12:1 of the PW-1400 geared turbofan. The Russian engine has a take-off thrust of 14,000 kg (30,800 lb.). Irkut’s engineer said that the MC-21-310 shows operational performance similar to the aircraft with the U.S. engines.

The MC-21 program has 175 firm orders so far, mostly for the PW1431G-powered airliners. Rossiya, the domestic airline subsidiary of Russia’s Aeroflot Group, is expected to be the launch operator with its 50 on order. The carrier is expected to start MC-21 operations in September 2022 and has an option to choose the Russian engines starting from the 26th aircraft.

Irkut also showed off the first details of the MC-21 VIP version in Dubai. The type’s VIP cabin will accommodate up to 30 passengers. The flight range with additional fuel tanks will reach up to 10,000 km (5,400 nm).

Maxim Pyadushkin

In addition to writing for Aviation Week Network, Maxim holds a key position at Russia's Air Transport Observer magazine. In the past he was in charge of several ATO’s sister aerospace publications and earlier worked for Moscow-based CAST defense think-tank.