Thursday, December 24, 2009

AVIC hails first flight of Sino-French EC175/Z-15

Chinese congomerate, AVIC has celebrated the first flight of the EC175/Z-15 helicopter.The new seven-ton helicopter, has been jointly built by Eurocopter and long-term partners - China Aviation Industry Hafei with the aim of producing "the world's most advanced medium utility helicopter," drawing on the existing mature technologies to innovate.

As the aircraft took to the air in Marseille, at AVIC's riveting equipment plant, the project's second main body frame has been lifted into the box, ready to be shipped to France.Sino-French cooperation in this project is 50-50 both in terms of workload and investment ratio.The Z-15 will be certified with a Chinese Civil Aviation type certification, while Eurocopter will apply for European Aviation Safety Agency certification for the EC175.

EC175-Z15 project has developed after the success of both China and France to establish their own assembly lines. Each is responsible for marketing to their respective regions, and to provide after-sale support services.AVIC Chairman Li Fang, who attended the first flight ceremony, said, "Sino-French cooperation in aviation between the two countries has a long history, EC175-Z15 project is following the" Dolphin and development of the EC120 in production license transfer and joint development."

China Aviation Industry Hafei is responsible for the fuselage structure, transition section and tail gear box, the main propeller systems, fuel system, control system and a number of optional equipment. Eurocopter is responsible for the main gear box, tail rotor system, avionics system , autopilot, hydraulic and electrical systems, doors and windows and some optional equipment.

EC175-Z15 has received orders of from North America, Asia, Europe and China. AVIC says that 15 companies have ordered 120 aircraft and the market prospects are broad. It is predicted that over the next 20 years, China's market demand for the aircraft will be around 400.


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