November 3, 2017 / 4:02 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-China's C919 jet completes 3rd test flight - manufacturer

* Flight made 36 days after previous test

* Landing gear control tested, altitude reached 3,000 metres

* Commercial service entry not expected before 2020 - Avolon (Adds COMAC confirmation and statement; paragraphs 3-6)

By Brenda Goh

SHANGHAI, Nov 3 (Reuters) - China's home-built C919 passenger jet completed its third test flight on Friday, its manufacturer said, bringing the Asian nation a step closer to its goal of becoming a global civil aerospace player.

The C919, which will compete with Boeing Co's 737 and the Airbus SE A320, is a symbol of China's civil aerospace ambitions and President Xi Jinping's push to upgrade manufacturing capabilities.

In a statement, Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC) said the plane took off at 7:38 a.m. (2338 GMT), flying for 3 hours and 48 minutes before landing at 11:26 a.m. The flight came 36 days after its previous test.

Data from plane tracking website Flightradar 24 showed the aircraft flew at an altitude of about 10,000 feet (3,048 m) for most of the time it circled above Shanghai. The website initially estimated a landing time of 8:56 a.m.

COMAC said the tests it completed during the flight included those on control of the plane's landing gear.

COMAC successfully switched on the engines for a second C919 jet on Thursday evening, it added in the statement.

COMAC Vice President Shi Jianzhong has previously said the gap between the C919's future test flights would be much shorter than the nearly five-month gap between its first and second.

That was far longer than for other planes, such as the Airbus A350, which had a five-day gap.

Last month, a company official said bad weather held up plans for the third C919 test flight, which had initially been expected within two weeks of the second.

On Friday, COMAC did not respond to further questions about the lengthy time gap.

The C919 is not expected to enter commercial service before 2020, Chinese-owned aircraft leasing company Avolon said on Monday. (Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore; Editing by Sonali Paul and Clarence Fernandez)

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