China Debuts Airliner Engine Model

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China intends to design and build its own engines to power the so-called Big Plane, the C919. The AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Company was formed last January and it has a model of its SF-A engine on display at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai. The company said it will have a detailed design team in place by the end of this year with a goal of completing the design by the end of 2010. Although the goal of the program is to eventually produce powerplants for the C919, it's not clear if the plan is to have the new engine ready for the aircraft's proposed launch date of 2016.

Earlier this year, Zhang Jian, general manager of the engine company, announced the goal of mating a homegrown engine to the domestically built airliner but Liu Daxiang, an executive with the airframe builder AVIC, was less sure that could be accomplished in time for the debut of the airliner. "It would take about 20 years to develop an engine to propel China's first homemade large plane," said Liu.