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China's first home-grown private plane ends test flights
Updated: 2005-04-21 19:03

China's first domestically designed private business plane completed its final test flight this week in Xi'an, capital of northwestern Shaanxi Province.

The Xiaoying 500, or "Eaglet 500", took 339 flights over the past nine months to test its airworthiness and the functioning of its steering system. The tests were conducted at an aeronautics testing institute in Xi'an.

Sources with China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) say that mass production of the plane will start next month. 24 will be made before the end of this year.

The general-purpose light plane is capable of reaching a speed of 300 kilometers per hour and an altitude of 4,200 meters and can take off and land from small airports or, if necessary, highways, said chief designer Shi Jingqi.

He said the plane, priced at two million yuan (about 241,000 US dollars), can carry up to four people, one pilot and three passengers, and has a maximum load capacity of 560 kilograms. It can be used for training, business, aerial prospecting and photo- taking, or other private purposes.

The plane has been developed jointly by domestic organizations including Shijiazhuang Aircraft Industry Co. Ltd., the No. 1 Aircraft Designing Institute affiliated with AVIC, and the Civil Aviation Flight Institute.

The developers have worked out a preliminary proposal on the development of an advanced version of the aircraft, the Xiaoying 800, on its basis.

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