Honeywell says that its work on the Comac C919 programme has been typical of a major aircraft development programme.
The company has work packages on four key subsystems: air data and inertial reference, wheels and brakes, flight control electronics (fly-by-wire), and will also produce the jet’s auxiliary power unit.
“This aircraft has been a priority for us at Honeywell Aerospace, as we think about the market opportunity for the C919 both in China and in the world over the next few years,” says Steven Lien, president of Honeywell Aerospace Asia-Pacific.
“There is a large level of commitment and persistence from Comac, and this is a national priority. It’s good to be a part of it as it moves forward.”
Lien estimates that Honeywell has hundreds of personnel with some degree of involvement in the C919. These range from “core” personnel who work at Comac facilities, to other engineering and technical talent across the company.
Two of the company’s work packages, wheels & brakes and flight control electronics are produced by joint ventures in China.
When asked about the frequency and nature of Comac’s requests for changes, Lien had this to say: “There is nothing that is abnormal for a development programme of this size. Certainly there will be changes as we go through next few years, but no huge surprises or major re-dos. We work closely on requirements and on what they need to be successful.”
Lien also touched on certification. This is a sensitive issue because the C919’s predecessor, the ARJ21, did not receive FAA certification despite an FAA shadow certification during its development. It has a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) type certificate, but not a production certificate. This means every aircraft produced requires its own certification.
Lien says that Honeywell and other western suppliers on the C919 have had in depth engagements with Comac about what western certification requires in regards to processes and systems.
“We follow the same standards as we have with our other OEM partners,” says Lien.
Lien adds that Honeywell is also interested in workshare on the proposed Sino-Russian widebody, which will be jointly developed between Comac and United Aircraft Corporation. He notes that Honeywell has content on another major UAC platform, the Irkut MC-21.
He foresees more clarity on the widebody programme in the coming months.
The C919 is expected to make its maiden flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport in the coming days.