Civil Aviation Administration of China has certified the 13-tonne AC313 earlier today. The AC313 was developed by government-owned manufacturer AVIC from the Harbin Z-8, itself relying very heavily on the 1960s French design - the SA321 Super Frelon.
AVIC expect to market the AC313 for emergency rescue operations, forest fire prevention, transport, offshore operations, medical aid, sightseeing and business trips - although experience in other parts of the world would suggest to us that some of these potential uses may be more marketing froth than anything else.
The AC313 has made two trial flights to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in 2010 and 2011 to establish its credentials at altitude, and AVIC has advised that the service ceiling is 8,500 metres - almost 28,000 feet.
Jeremy Parkin - HeliHub.com
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