TIANJIN - The first light civilian helicopter developed and manufactured in China made its successful maiden flight in northern port city of Tianjin Monday.
The two-ton AC311 helicopter, developed and manufactured by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), has a seating capacity of six and can be used for flight training, policing, communication command, aerial photography, medical aid, power line patrol, forest fire prevention and pest control.
The aircraft was equipped with a fuel-efficient engine, a durable and flexible composite rotor system, and a highly integrated avionics system, said Wang Bin, general manager of Avicopter Corporation Limited, a joint venture between AVIC and the Tianjin municipal government.
"Its technology and performance are close to the international advanced level. In terms of cost, it is about 10 to 15 percent less than similar products from other manufacturers," Wang said.
"The AC311 helicopter will be sold wordwide.
The first two have been purchased by police from Tianjin's Binhai New District and Guiyang (capital of southwest China's Guizhou province)," he said.
The AC311 helicopter is expected to obtain a type certificate from China's civil aviation authorities in October 2011 and go on the market in 2012, he said.
"It is expected that the market demand for this type of helicopter will reach 500 in the next 10 years," he said.