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China's general aviation industry achieves remarkable progress

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-07-22 16:11
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A plane arrives at the Sanya Phoenix International Airport on Jan 26, 2022. [Photo/VCG]

BEIJING -- China's burgeoning general aviation industry has continued to make significant strides in both aircraft manufacturing and operation, with a growing number of new models and increased support expected to boost the sector.

Joint efforts have been made to facilitate general aviation operations and popularize them in the socio-economic sphere, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The civil aviation authorities are committed to further boosting the progress of the general aviation sector in major fields such as public service, emerging consumption, short-haul transport, UAV application, and conventional operation during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

The country has made continuous advancements in developing homegrown general aircraft models, such as helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and facilitating operations of the general aviation industry.

During China's 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), the country's general aviation industry completed 4.58 million hours of flight operations, with an average annual growth rate of 5.2 percent over the period, statistics from the CAAC showed.

Notably, China's UAV industry has maintained rapid growth over the period, with 11,000 UAV-operation enterprises, 517,000 UAVs and 89,000 UAV pilots.

General aviation normally refers to aircraft operations in civil aviation other than public air transport, such as aviation services for agriculture, medical rescue, disaster relief and rescue, firefighting, and recreation.

China is facilitating the development of helicopters and other general aviation aircraft to better serve the country's demands in a more timely and flexible manner.

China has built a complete helicopter family thanks to decades of unremitting efforts. The AVIC has become one of the world's seven leading helicopter manufacturers, with more than 60 models in 12 series of helicopters. The country's leading planemaker, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), anticipates further progress.

The AC352 medium multi-purpose civil helicopter is close to getting certification from the civil aviation authorities, according to the AVIC.

Enriching the pedigree of China's civil helicopter family in the 7-ton class is a medium twin-engine multi-purpose civil helicopter that can carry up to 16 passengers with a 7.5-ton maximum take-off weight.

The other new civil helicopter model is likewise advancing forward. The AC313A large utility civil helicopter made a successful maiden flight in May.

Specially developed to meet the country's needs for air rescue missions, AC313A can operate in various complex terrains and weather conditions such as high plateaus, and high and low temperatures. It can carry up to 28 people on board and can also load up to five tons of water for firefighting missions.

China will strive to have 3,500 registered airplanes for general aviation by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period, according to a new plan on general aviation recently unveiled by the CAAC.

The plan calls for the improvement of general aviation emergency rescue services, supporting innovation in drone use, and the further upgrading of general aviation services in the agricultural and industrial sectors, among other measures.

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