Sky's the limit for Z-15, helicopter maker says

Updated: 2014-03-06 07:18

By Zhao Lei (China Daily)

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China is nearing completion on its most advanced helicopter to date and will soon send the prototype up on its maiden flight, a national legislator said.

"The development of the 6-ton-class Z-15 is progressing smoothly. Our designers and engineers are completing the project according to schedule," Yu Feng, deputy to the National People's Congress and deputy general manager of Avicopter, China's only helicopter manufacturer, told China Daily on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the country's top legislature.

Sky's the limit for Z-15, helicopter maker says

Sky's the limit for Z-15, helicopter maker says

"We have submitted our application to the airworthiness certification authority to let it test our aircraft," Yu said. "Although the timetable for the first test flight has yet to be decided, I can tell you it will be soon."

As the nation's first 6-ton medium class utility helicopter, Z-15 was developed by Avicopter and Airbus Helicopters starting in 2006. France-based Airbus is the world's largest helicopter company in terms of revenue.

The project is the first helicopter joint venture in which China and a Western nation share the same responsibilities and profits, according to Avicopter.

Airbus' helicopter, which it dubbed EC175, made its maiden flight in December 2009 in France and was certified this January by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Airbus Helicopters said on its website that it has signed 48 orders for the EC175.

The airworthiness certification procedure in China, however, differs from the one in Europe, resulting in a delay in the Chinese version's test flight, Yu said.

"Since the beginning of the project, we aimed to make Z-15 the most advanced medium-sized helicopter in the world and have drawn experience from previous versions," he added, noting that the aircraft, with its cutting-edge technology, will be the most comfortable and eco-friendly helicopter of its kind.

Sky's the limit for Z-15, helicopter maker says

Sky's the limit for Z-15, helicopter maker says

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