duminică, 8 ianuarie 2012

AC313 helicopter

China is preparing to fly its AC313 medium-lift helicopter for the first time in March, leading to certification in 2011, says an official at the manufacturer Avicopter, a division of China's state-owned aerospace conglomerate AVIC.

The AC313 is a 13t helicopter that "can be extended to 15t" and the external load capacity "can be 5t", says the official. China developed the AC313 on its own rather than collaborating with foreign partners.

"The avionics system [for example] was independently developed by China," says the official, who says the helicopter is designed for "passenger and cargo transport, firefighting, search and rescue, emergency medical services, oil offshore services and VIP flights". Potential customers include government, police and general aviation firms, the official adds, who says the AC313 can carry 27 passengers or 4t of cargo.

 The AC313 an updated design based on the earlier Harbin Z-8, itself a development of the Aérospatiale Super Frelon. The prototype first flew at Jingdezhen, Jiangxi on 18 March 2010. It is designed to carry 27 passengers, has a reported maximum range of 900 kilometres, and a maximum payload of 13.8 tonnes.

With three Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B-67A engines, the AC313 is the largest helicopter ever developed in China. The AC313 is a single-rotor helicopter with tail rotors, tandem pilot seating, and a non-retractable landing gear.

Although based on a 1960s design, the AC313 has been developed to use composite materials for the rotor blade and titanium main rotor. Composite materials are used on 50% of the helicopter and titanium is used for the remainder.

 Designed to carry 27 passengers and two crew in the transport role, it has also been designed to be used for VIP transport, medical evacuations, and for search and rescue operations. In terms of cargo, it can carry up to 4 tonne internally or 5 tonnes on a sling.

The interior comes equipped with a modern integrated digital avionics system and has a cabin height of 1.83 m and 23.5 m^3 in space.

The AC313  Hot or Not ?

Following Chinese certification, the first AC313 is to be delivered to Flying Dragon Special Aviation, in 2011. Avicopter has plans to certify the AC313 for sales in Europe and the United States.

 Avicopter is also carrying out a feasibility study with Russian Helicopters, the consortium that includes Mil, to develop a 20t-plus heavylift helicopter.

Avicopter also manufactures the H425, a 4.25t helicopter that made its first flight in December 2004. This smaller helicopter is pitched at the same type of customers as the AC313. China is putting more emphasis on helicopter development following the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake.