China’s AVIC 312E Completes Plateau Testing

AVIC AC312E

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) announced November 22 that the company’s new AC312E helicopter that is currently in the process of civil certification, completed all plateau test flights on Tuesday of this week.

The AC312E, a light twin-engine civilian helicopter, completed plateau testing at Ninglang Luguhu Airport in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, that sits at an altitude of 10,800 feet (3,293 meters) located in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

Powered by two Safran Arriel 2H engines, the AC312E, a locally built civilian version of the Harbin Z9, based off the then Aerospatiale AS365 airframe built under license since the 1980s, has now completed all requirements for high-altitude flight testing, according to AVIC.

The Chinese AC312E manufactured by AVIC, strongly resembles the Airbus AS365 variant that the country licensed to produce in the early 1980sThe Chinese AC312E manufactured by AVIC, strongly resembles the Airbus AS365 variant that the country licensed to produce in the early 1980s
The Chinese AC312E manufactured by AVIC, strongly resembles the Airbus AS365 variant that the country licensed to produce in the early 1980s

“the AC312E has shown reliability and good performance on all types of plateau environments. It can now meet demand for emergency rescue and earthquake relief helicopters in plateau regions,” said Li Shengwei, deputy chief designer of the AC312E.

The AC 312E has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of  4.25 tons, with a maximum payload of 1.7 tons and can carry nine passengers. The AC312E is touted to have a fully digital cockpit with a majority of instrumentation provided by Rockwell Collins.

The aircraft has reached a reported flight altitude ceiling of 20,600 feet (6,300 meters) above sea level. The AC312E is also reported to have a maximum range of 310 miles (500 kilometers) in optimal conditions at a cruise altitude of 5000 feet. AVIC has also hinted that there is the potential for the AC312E series to eventually include four specialist models for emergency medical services, search and rescue, VIP transport and law enforcement.

In September 2016 shortly after the helicopters announcement in August, the AC312E received its first order from the Ministry of Land and Resources China geological Survey. This September, Tibet Development and Investment Group signed an intention agreement to buy four AC312E for the Tibet emergency rescue network.

Chinese manufacturer Harbin produced as miltary variant of the AS365/AS565 Panther called the Z9 from the early 1980s.
Chinese manufacturer Harbin produced as miltary variant of the AS365/AS565 Panther called the Z9 from the early 1980s.

AVIC is emerging with a strong presence in China an international markets, the helicopter manufacturer producing over 50 different variants of 12 models. The company produces more than 300 aircraft annually.

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