An AC332 twin-engine civil helicopter is seen on the apron of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Tianjin Helicopter Co.,Ltd in north China's Tianjin, April 7, 2023. (Xinhua/Sun Fanyue)
TIANJIN, April 7 (Xinhua) -- China's AC332 twin-engine civil helicopter successfully conducted its first full-state flight here on Friday, announced its developer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
The 4-tonne multipurpose helicopter received its first batch of 24 orders from its launch operators on the same day, said the AVIC, the country's leading planemaker.
These orders include the purchase agreement for 18 aircraft and the intent purchase agreement for six. They will be used in air transport, emergency medical rescue and patrol, and other diverse fields.
With a maximum takeoff weight of 3,850 kilograms, the AC332 can carry up to 10 passengers. It has a maximum cruise speed of 260 kilometers per hour and a maximum flight range of 693 kilometers, said the developer.
The helicopter has an improved performance and lower operating costs, and has various configurations that can meet diversified operation requirements.
It is capable of taking off at an altitude of 4,500 meters with a ceiling of 6,000 meters, meeting the needs of air transport, search and rescue, and medical aid in plateau areas, said the AVIC.
The Chinese planemaker has built production lines for civil helicopters, including the AC312E, in Tianjin in recent years. It has preliminarily built an integrated platform for the research and development of civil helicopters in the city.
An AC332 twin-engine civil helicopter conducts its first full-state flight at the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Tianjin Helicopter Co.,Ltd in north China's Tianjin, April 7, 2023. (Xinhua/Sun Fanyue)
The new AC332 targets the weakness in the country's current emergency aviation rescue equipment arsenal, and has shown an excellent plateau performance in the 4-tonne helicopter subdivision, said Li Shengwei, the helicopter's chief designer.
The helicopter's first full-state flight marks progress in the construction of the country's emergency air rescue system and air traffic operations in plateau areas, Li said.
In response to a proposal to improve the national emergency management system by strengthening and improving the air rescue system and its capabilities in China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), the country's aviation industry has advanced the continuous progress of independently developed aircraft, including helicopters, large unmanned aerial vehicles and large amphibious aircraft.
Multiple civil helicopters capable of flying emergency rescue missions, such as the AC352 and the AC313A, are making rapid progress with significant strides taken in their development, the AVIC said.
The planemaker noted that the AC332 helicopter is expected to obtain its type certificate in 2025. ■