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China unveils indigenously built helicopter

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AC313, China’s first independently developed civilian medium-lift helicopter. A China Daily Photo.

BEIJING (PTI): The first Chinese made large civil helicopter completed its test flight in the country's eastern Jiangxi province on Thursday, according to officials.

The AC313 helicopter took to the sky at Lumeng airport in Jingdezhen city at 9:40 am and landed at 10:05 am, official Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying.

The AC313 has a maximum takeoff weight of 13.8 tonnes and can carry 27 passengers or 15 wounded people. It has a maximum range of 900-km (559 miles), said Sun Cong, deputy chief engineer of designer and manufacturer Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

It was designed for a variety of uses, including search and rescue, fighting forest fires, and assisting in fighting fires in cities.

The AC313, designed in line with airworthiness regulations and was made in less than a year, reaches the standard of third-generation helicopters, Sun said.

AVIC 1 International Leasing Company and China Flying Dragon Special Aviation Company signed contracts to purchase five AC313 copters following the test flight.

Zhang Hongbiao, director of the AVIC's science and technology committee, told Xinhua that the company has set up a team to study the feasibility of developing China's first heavy-duty helicopters which can carry the weight of 20 tonnes.

Zhang called for more government investment to help kick-start the project at an early date.

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