China-based Avicopter flew a new version of the AC311 light single, the AC311A, with a Turbomeca engine and Chinese avionics on August 14. The 10-minute maiden sortie took place in Jingdezhen, the home city of partner Changhe Aircraft.
The use of domestic avionics steers Avicopter clear of foreign export restrictions, the company said. AIN understands that the same applies to the engine, as France-based Turbomeca and Avicopter have long-established ties. The Arriel 2B1A powers the helicopter in lieu of the AC311’s Honeywell LTS101-700D-2, a U.S. product.
The contract for the AC311A was signed in September 2011 with South Aero-engine Industry (SAIC) and Avic International at the China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin. The AC311A is seen as suitable for business flying, aerial photography, power line patrol, agriculture, forestry spraying, emergency rescue, police and law enforcement, especially at high altitudes. Turbomeca expects aircraft certification next year. The 4,850-pound AC311 was certified in 2012 and can carry six people or 2,000 pounds.