by Xinhua writers Hu Tao, Xia Xiao
NANCHANG, May 17 (Xinhua) -- China's independently-developed AC313A large utility civil helicopter successfully conducted its maiden flight on Tuesday, announced the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the country's leading aircraft maker.
The 13-tonne-class large helicopter conducted the flight at an airport in Jingdezhen, east China's Jiangxi Province, marking a major step forward in the development of China's air emergency rescue system, the AVIC said.
With the completion of the maiden flight, AC313A will enter the flight test phase, according to the developer.
It is expected to receive the airworthiness certification before 2025, and thereafter enter the market to serve customers.
NEW UTILITY HELICOPTER
AC313A is a major aerial vehicle specially developed to meet the country's needs for air rescue missions. It is expected to offer assistance in strengthening the national air emergency rescue system, according to the AVIC.
Upgraded from the AC313 helicopter, AC313A is a large utility civil helicopter with new engines, an upgraded transmission system, and multiple other tech-optimization in systems such as the avionics and flight control, the AVIC said.
This new helicopter model is also installed with the health and usage monitoring system, as well as rotor ice protection and de-icing facilities to enhance its performance and safety.
AC313A can carry up to 28 people onboard, with a maximum take-off weight of 13.8 tonnes and external sling loads. It can also load up to five tonnes of water for firefighting missions.
Capable of operating in both visual and instrument flight, AC313A can operate in various complex terrains and weather conditions, such as a high plateau and high and low temperatures.
AC313A can be installed with various facilities for emergency rescue missions. This feature allows it to carry out various missions across the country such as supply delivery, forest and urban fire fighting, lifting large equipment, disaster prevention and relief, medical rescue, law enforcement, offshore rescue and search, and transportation for offshore oil platforms, among others, according to the developer.
SERVING EMERGENCY RESCUE MISSIONS
Prior to the upgraded model of AC313A, the AVIC-developed AC313 large helicopter was certified in 2012. The AC313 has served forest firefighting and maritime law enforcement missions since starting operation in 2013.
The developer enhanced the emergency rescue capabilities of the newly developed AC313A by making it capable of operating in more complicated environments and weather conditions, the AVIC said.
China faces particularly tough challenges from frequent natural disasters, while the conventional rescue means are limited in responding to various rescue missions in an efficient and effective manner.
The country has made persistent efforts to strengthen the national emergency rescue system and capabilities, highlighting the roles of air emergency rescue which has unique and remarkable advantages such as quick response and effective operations.
The AC313A and more homegrown aircraft will jointly empower the country's comprehensive emergency rescue capabilities, the AVIC said.
(Xinhua correspondents Hu Chenhuan, Yao Ziyun and Jia Yining contributed to the story)