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The 26th anniversary of the first flight of the J-10: The first flight was delayed due to three drop


introduce: When pieces of great equipment from great powers soar into the blue sky, a group of people on the ground will also look up to the sky. Countless people's efforts are condensed there, and there are many unknown and good stories hidden behind the

When pieces of great equipment from great powers soar into the blue sky, a group of people on the ground will also look up to the sky. Countless people's efforts are condensed there, and there are many unknown and good stories hidden behind them.
J-10 takes flight for the first time. Photo by Li Yong
In the long history of aviation development, as models take off, there are always some unforgettable touching stories that inspire us to move forward.
On March 23, 1998, the J-10, the third-generation fighter jet independently developed by my country, soared into the sky and successfully made its first flight.
However, the initial first flight was not on this day. Just a dozen hours before the scheduled first flight, during an engine test run inspection, three drops of oil dropped from the aircraft engine.
Today, we are going to tell the story of J-10 and "Three Drops of Oil".
Three drops of oil found before first flight
"We were doing test runs before the first flight, and I was responsible for checking the engine. Everything was normal." Zhang Fenggui recalled that day 26 years ago, clasping his hands and still revealing a trace of nervousness in his calm tone.
Three Drops of Oil Photo by Li Yong
"Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I felt something shiny dripping down from the side. At that time, my heart skipped a beat, and I felt something was wrong. But when I looked closely, I found no signs of oil leakage."
At this time, Zhang Fenggui suspected that he had been deceived, but the doubts in his heart were still not eliminated.
"I kept squatting there, listening to the changes in engine speed, and looking at the area where the oil might be leaking. Then, the second delet of oil flashed past, and when the third delet of oil fell, I firmly believed , the engine is leaking oil!" At this point, Zhang Fenggui's voice became loud and powerful.
Making a decisive decision, Zhang Fenggui immediately reported the discovered situation to the deputy captain of the maintenance brigade. Everyone couldn't believe it. The plane was about to take off for the first time. If oil leaked from the high-temperature area of the engine, the plane would never fly into the sky.
In order to verify his conjecture, Zhang Fenggui took the initiative to open the engine cover. When more than 20 self-locking screws were unscrewed, everyone was shocked. There was already a lot of oil leakage inside.
Man and machine work non-stop to troubleshoot problems for 120 hours continuously
The deputy captain of the maintenance team that Zhang Fenggui mentioned was Li Tao.
During the interview, Li Tao took out a notebook that was slightly yellowed and full of age, and while searching for his records, he searched for memories in his mind.
"I remember that I did two starts to verify whether there was any oil leakage. When the mechanic Zhang Fenggui opened the cover, the moment the oil leaked out, the expressions of everyone on the scene froze, including me." Li Tao said with a serious expression, "The engine It is the heart of the aircraft. It will definitely not be able to fly at the scheduled first flight time. We must find out the problem!"
That night, the entire team began working through the night to find the problem. "To be honest, it was very stressful because we couldn't determine where the oil was leaking in a short period of time. We even disassembled the engine and reinstalled it and then tried it again, but the oil was still leaking. Over and over again, we completed the work for several days. Eight tests were conducted, with people and planes not stopping." Describing the investigation process, Li Tao said it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Li Tao explained: "Oil leakage points require the engine speed to increase before oil leakage occurs. If the engine speed does not reach the correct speed, it will not leak oil and cannot be seen. Furthermore, it takes some time to disassemble the engine. After the temperature in the high-temperature zone cools down, the oil hanging on the internal parts is basically dried, making it difficult to determine the exact location of the oil leak."
"Here, you see, from the night of March 11th to the night of March 15th, 120 hours!" Li Tao pointed to a string of dates on his notebook. Behind the dates, the team dismantled and installed the engine pipe again and again... The road system is intricate and every conceivable method has been used.
He recalled, “In the end, the technician relied on practical experience in non-destructive testing, inspected and analyzed point by point and narrowed the detection range. Finally, during an engine driving process, the instantaneous oil leakage process was captured and recorded through the video endoscopic system, and he found out Found the oil leak."
"It is indeed not easy. After watching the video repeatedly, it was confirmed that the oil leakage lasted only 3 seconds." Li Tao sighed. More than a dozen people worked all night long, and no one backed down or made a mistake. Everyone What I want to do is to find the problem, solve it as soon as possible, and send the fighter plane into the blue sky.
"At that time, when I saw the plane landing safely after its first flight, everyone on the scene choked up. All the hard work was worth it." In the last sentence, Li Tao seemed to be telling reporters, more like he was speaking to the maintenance team 26 years ago. said.
Quality awareness is rooted in the hearts of aviation people
If these three drops of oil were not found and the engine cover was not opened on March 11, 1998, and the plane made its first flight as scheduled, what would have been the consequences?
"There is a problem with the engine. In serious cases, it is very likely to lead to a class accident." When answering this question, Li Tao felt scared, but more determined. "This further illustrates the importance of quality awareness, and we should be responsible for the safety of test pilots!"
Zhang Fenggui also felt the same way. "On the first day we joined Chengdu Aircraft, the master told us that airplanes cannot fly with malfunctions. They are different from cars. If a car has a malfunction, it can be parked on the side of the road. If an airplane has a malfunction, what should we do?"
In Zhang Fenggui's view, "I just did my job well. Quality issues are related to the life safety of test pilots. If you find problems, you must dare to speak out, find out the problems and solve them. This is what aviation people should do."
Even if the first flight is postponed, we must ensure that the first flight is foolproof. Talking about the significance of the "Three Drops of Oil" incident, Li Tao and Zhang Fenggui unanimously said that from discovering the problem to solving the problem, and finally "Three Drops of Oil" becoming a symbol, it did not happen overnight. It is what Chengfei has valued all employees over the years. The inevitable result of cultivating quality awareness.
J-10CE exported to Pakistan Photo by Song Kui
It is precisely because of the uncompromising attitude of aviation personnel on quality issues and their strong awareness of quality and responsibility for customers and products that the J-10 was finally safely launched into the sky.
J-10C "Elephant Parade" Photo by Wang Zidan
Although the J-10 aircraft delayed its first flight due to "three drops of oil", its story has made more people realize that quality is the life of aviation people.
Today, 26 years later, the meticulous, truth-seeking and pragmatic spirit represented by "Three Drops of Oil" is engraved in the hearts of every aviation person. It will always shine in the aviation industry with every safe takeoff of a fighter plane. history.
Photography/Li Yong, Song Kui, Wang Zidan
Text/Zou Ajiang, Tian Mi
Source/Aviation Industry Chengdu

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