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Five named to man plane’s 1st flight

Guo Kai
Updated: May 5,2017 7:12 AM     China Daily

Cai Jun (center), captain for the maiden flight of China’s passenger jet C919, and other crew members pose for a photo by the plane in Shanghai. The flight was scheduled for May 5.[Photo/China Daily]

Five test pilots have been chosen for the maiden flight of the Chinese-built passenger jet C919 on May 5.

The C919 is a single-aisle commercial aircraft built for medium-haul flights, with up to 174 seats and twin engines. Its maiden flight was scheduled to take off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The five pilots-Cai Jun (captain), Wu Xin (co-pilot), Qian Jin (observer), as well as Ma Fei and Zhang Dawei (engineers)-have long flight experience, the newspaper Jiefang Daily reported. They are from the test center of Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd, the maker of the C919.

During the preparatory stage, Cai, Wu and Qian were involved in the evaluation of the cockpit. They also carried out two mock flights ahead of the first test flight, and completed slow, medium and high-speed taxiing tests.

Before joining the test center six years ago, Cai was a pilot at China Eastern Airlines. So far, he has flown 10,300 hours. As a test pilot, Cai said that flying is only part of his work. He also takes part in finalizing flight plans and verifying flight data.

Besides the five test pilots, the center said it has also prepared a backup team, and will decide the final team on May 5.