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    AC352 Delays Encountered

    The Avicopter AC352 medium-twin helicopter (previously known as the Z15, the Chinese version of the jointly developed Eurocopter EC175) is now expected to make its maiden flight in the second half of this year in China, according to Europe- and Asia-based industry sources.

    Entry into service is then expected late next year or early 2016.
    Certification had previously been planned for this year.

    The delay is attributable mainly to the engine change, one source explained. The AC352 will use the Turbomeca/Avic Engine Ardiden 3C/WZ16 in place of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67Es that power the EC175, which first flew in 2009 and is now close toEASA certification.

    Airbus Helicopters (née Eurocopter) and Avicopter have shared theEC175/AC352 program 50-50, the latter company holding responsibility for the fuselage, among other subassemblies. However, certification efforts, customer support networks and marketing areas are distinct.

    Airbus Helicopters and Avicopter have agreed that the AC352 can be sold only in China and a small number of countries close to China where Airbus would be unlikely to sell any EC175s, one of the sources told AIN.

  • #2
    Relaxed rules give dreams of flying new hope

    Regulators look to boost development of private aviation sector, pilot reserve

    Since late November, relaxed standards for comprehensive and physical exams have been instated for students seeking certification to fly private planes.

    Pilots stand next to a Bell 407 helicopter in Handan, Hebei province

    Under the new standards, those aged 17 or above who have received at least three years of middle school education are eligible to apply for a private pilot's license.

    The biggest changes made to the previous requirements are in the physical criteria an applicant must meet.

    Requirements for height, weight and eyesight were altered, and those who have chronic diseases, like diabetes, hypertension or coronary artery disease, which would disqualify them in the past, are allowed by the new rules.

    "After the changes, the physical requirements for private pilot's license holders have become as flexible as those for drivers," the Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement.

    "Before the standards were loosened, the physical requirements for private aircraft pilots were as stringent as those for commercial airline pilots," said Li Xiaojin, a professor at the Civil Aviation University of China.

    "Because more and more people have begun to own private planes or to apply for flight certificates for business or recreational purposes, the adjustment of standards came at the right time."

    In the past, flight students were subject to rigorous standards because most of them would fly military or commercial aircraft after they graduated from flight academies, Li explained.

    Fewer than 100 Chinese people are receiving training for private licenses, and the relaxation will unleash a market that has huge potential, Qian said.

    Zhong Ning, spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said only 345 people nationwide have a private pilot's license.

    He Chi, vice-president of Capital Helicopter in Beijing, said a private license training course at his company costs about 250,000 to 280,000 yuan and includes 60 hours of classes and 45 hours of flight time.

    "Helicopters have become popular among many entrepreneurs who value their time and want to impress their partners by owning a private aircraft," he said. "Also, as far as I know, the course for flying fixed-wing aircraft costs about 200,000 to 250,000 yuan."

    He added, "The comparatively high cost for gaining a private pilot's license is not a problem for people who have an interest in flying as well as a lot of money and spare time."

    The policy shift makes it easier for private aircraft owners and pilots to use their planes, but it is still far from enough to meet the needs of the general aviation industry's development, Zhang Feng, secretary-general of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of China, told Xinhua News Agency.

    "Our country has yet to make an aeronautical chart for low-altitude airspace," he said.

    "There are no regulations or authorities governing private aircraft registration. Owners of these aircraft have to register their planes or helicopters with airlines. It is also difficult to insure private aircraft in China now."


    • #3
      Bell Helicopter in China

      Crossing China, a vast and geographically challenging country, has never been an easy task for its people, officials or rescue workers. Listen to executives from the helicopter industry and they are convinced they have the answer. But while they are making some sales here, the Chinese market for whirlybirds remains small.

      Laws, regulations and military restrictions have combined to limit growth in the country, concedes Chris Jaran, managing director of China for Texas-based Bell Helicopter. However, he believes the next 10 years will see “significant growth.”

      In an interview with China Economic Review, Jaran explains how Bell Helicopter is preparing to serve the market by training Chinese helicopter pilots and maintenance crews, and how one day the company might assemble aircraft in China.

      Helicopter ownership rates in China are just a fraction of what they are in the US, Europe and even other big emerging markets. What are your growth projections for the market in the next 10 years?

      We see significant growth in China in the next 10 years, but it will depend on how fast the government opens up the airspace and how quickly pilots and mechanics can be trained.

      What is your share of the China helicopter market?

      Bell Helicopter currently has approximately 20% of the commercial turbine helicopter market in China and we expect to see additional growth in the years to come.

      What are your goals, sales and otherwise, in China for the next decade?

      Bell Helicopter is looking to provide better training and spares support for our customers as well as help build the general aviation infrastructure in China.

      Which market segments do you see as the fastest growing in China and in what areas do you specialise?

      Due to the shortage of pilots in China, we see the helicopter training market has huge potential, especially with the SLS [short light single aircraft]. We also see potential with the Bell 525 as the energy industry grows in China.

      Can you tell us about your top selling models in China, and let us know about your product positioning in this market?

      Currently the Bell 407 and Bell 429 are the top selling models in China. They are mainly used for corporate and utility purposes.

      What are the challenges that you face in selling to China from global peers and how are you addressing them?

      In addition to adapting to the language and cultural differences, we are continually trying to streamline the sales process, and improve our spares supply, support, and training.

      Like with many sectors in China, foreign companies have touted helicopters as a potentially huge market for years but progress has been slow. To what extent have your expectations been missed, and how are you planning for future growth considering your past experiences?

      While we would always prefer things to happen faster, we believe we are on the right path in China and predict a large opportunity ahead. As mentioned before, a lot of this will fall on training for mechanics and pilots as well as government regulations, but we predict significant growth in the next 10 years and beyond.

      Are you building or assembling more helicopters within China or are you mainly importing them? What are the main difficulties faced when importing helicopters into China?

      We have had success importing helicopters over the past few years and growing our international infrastructure and sales, but we do realize a localized approach is necessary for long term success in many international markets. Our strategy in emerging markets is to first build the training and infrastructure to support the market with qualified pilots and maintainers and learn the market, then progress to completions and ultimately to final assembly.

      What are the biggest differences you have noticed in buyer behaviour and requirements between China and, for example, the US or Brazil?

      We are seeing customers that want multi-mission configurations that can be interchangeable, such as having corporate seating that can be removed to install a litter kit for rescue missions. This is compared to operators in North America that need dedicated configurations for HEMS [helicopter emergency medical service] and corporate missions.

      A lack of helipads, air traffic control infrastructure and severe restrictions on non-military and non-commercial are often cited as major obstacles to the development of the China helicopter market. What changes are you seeing in these areas?

      The recent changes by the CAAC [Civil Aviation Administration of China] to loosen airspace restrictions by the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] have certainly improved the outlook of the general aviation industry.

      China has a shortage of qualified air service personnel and maintenance crews to deal with helicopters. How can this be overcome?

      We believe the best way to combat this issue is direct investment in the region. For example, Guangzhou Civil Aviation College is well on its way to becoming the first authorized Bell Helicopter Maintenance Training facility in China for the Bell 206L and Bell 407 product lines.

      Guangzhou College’s instructors have made significant strides in process to become a Bell Helicopter certified training facility. The required classroom theory training and associated practical assessment were completed in July at the Bell Helicopter Training Academy (BTA) in Fort Worth, Texas. Under the supervision of BTA instructors, the college completed its first Bell 206 course in Anyang, China on August 23 and its first Bell 407 course in Beijing, China on September 6. The college is procuring its first Bell model 206 training aircraft and is expected to have it ready for training by early Q3 2014.

      Plans are also moving forward with Suilian Helicopter General Aviation Co., Ltd. to open a Bell Helicopter authorized flight training school. Suilian began instructor pilot training on September 16 at the Bell Helicopter Training Academy in Fort Worth, Texas. Both pilots successfully completed their Bell 206L flight instructor training. Additional training recently began for the Bell 407 model.

      How much have aviation laws and regulations in China hindered the helicopter market? What impact do you see in the easing of new restrictions that came into force on December 1 as having in the short to medium term?

      Easing of restrictions will accelerate the flight plan approval process, which will hopefully result in more general aviation aircraft being produced.

      How do the laws, regulations and military restrictions in China compare with other big emerging markets like Brazil, India and Russia?

      The government restrictions for general aviation have limited the growth for helicopters in China compared to other countries such as Brazil and Russia which already have strong infrastructure in place for commercial helicopters. However we see China eventually catching up to these countries in the future.


      • #4
        Airbus Signs Long-Term Industrial Agreement with China

        News being received from from Paris that a long-term industrial agreement has been signed today between Airbus Helicopters and one of China's leading aviation manufacturers.

        The new Airbus joint-venture expects to take more than 50% of the Chinese market for new helicopters over the next 20 years (estimated at €50 billion) thanks to a long-term industrial agreement signed Wednesday with a leading Chinese aviation manufacturer.

        Update to follow.


        • #5
          Airbus Helicopters and China’s Avicopter Sign Agreement for 1,000 New-Generation Rotorcraft

          Airbus Helicopters and China’s Avicopter (the helicopters business unit of AVIC) have signed a joint agreement for the production of 1,000 new-generation EC175/AC352 rotorcraft, in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President François Hollande at the Elysée Palace in Paris.

          The agreement cements the industrial partnership between Airbus Helicopters and AVIC on their jointly-developed EC175/AC352.

          “Today’s agreement results from several years of close collaboration between our teams. It sets the stage for an unprecedented full-scale production framework by both partners and adds a new dimension to the relationship with Avicopter,” said Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury.

          “The production contract’s signature will allow both of us to satisfy the Chinese and worldwide market needs in the medium helicopter segment," added Li Fangyong, AVIC executive vice president. “This also puts Avicopter’s production resources to work in the aviation industry’s global industrial chain.”

          While development work has been equally shared between Airbus Helicopters and Avicopter for the EC175/AC352 project, production is likewise shared, combining the capabilities of both companies. Coming from a common platform, two different rotorcraft are being built: the AC352, assembled and supported from China by Avicopter, mainly for the Chinese market; and the EC175, assembled and supported by Airbus Helicopters from Marignane, France, for the worldwide market.

          The EC175, certified earlier this year by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Europe’s airworthiness authority, is a highly capable, medium-sized twin-engine rotorcraft that meets global market requirements across a full range of missions – including offshore crew transport, search and rescue, VIP, utility and medical evacuation operations. Initial deliveries to its first three EC175 customers are planned by Airbus Helicopters later in 2014.

          France and China launched their cooperation on EC175/AC352 in 2005, benefitting from 40 years of close ties between the partners on previous rotorcraft projects.
          News Source


          • #6
            Chinese Civilian Helicopter Fleet Growing

            With some long-awaited relaxation of the rules governing helicopter operations in China, prospects for the rotorcraft industry at last seem to be firming up. Last year the entire fleet (465 helicopters, 424 based in Mainland China) grew by 20 percent, according to the Asian Sky Group, which in February published the latest edition of its Greater China Civil Helicopter Fleet Report. The Hong Kong-based company’s projection for 2014 growth is 20 percent again, based on actual orders placed for helicopters in the region, bringing the total number of civil helicopters to more than 550 by the end of the year.

            The largest user of civil helicopters in country is the oil and gas industry. Helicopters service the Bohai Bay, East China Sea and South China Sea oil platforms on a daily basis, and analysts see demand for helicopters such as the Sikorsky S-92 and Airbus EC225 in the future.

            ​A China Southern Airlines Sikorsky S-92

            In Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong helicopters are being used as part of Ministry of Transportation and Government Flying Services, supporting police, EMS and SAR in those regions. As more areas, such as Heilongjiang province in North China, are opened for private helicopter and training operations it is expected that civil demand will grow.

            China World Helicopter Association’s director general Luo You Zhen recently published a plan for commercial helicopter routes linking Chinese cities in the Ring Bohai region, starting with Tienjin and Dalian (236 miles/380 km); Dalian and Qingdao (199 miles/320 km); Tienjin and Qingdao (267 miles/430 km). Expected fares in an AW139 or similar 15-passenger helicopter are estimated to be around $350 one-way, according to Lou. The timeline for the project is keyed to correspond with the opening of more airspace for helicopters in 2016.

            According to the Asian Sky report, Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) is the leading rotorcraft supplier in China today with a 26-percent market share (121 aircraft). Robinson accounts for 102 helicopters, followed by Bell (74), Schweizer (52), Sikorsky (41) and AgustaWestland (31). While Sikorsky holds only a 9-percent market share in terms of aircraft numbers, it represents 30 percent in replacement value. Last year, Bell increased its fleet in Greater China by 32 percent. The most numerous rotorcraft in China today are Bell 407s, Bell 406s and Airbus Helicopters AS350s.

            During 2013, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the People’s Liberation Army opened up low-altitude airspace in some regions of China and announced plans to make this change across the country in 2015. The two agencies also introduced new rules that do away with the need to have military approval for many categories of general aviation operations.


            • #7
              Helicopter Association of China to be Launched

              As in many parts of the world, the helicopter industry in China continues growing steadily and is not as subject to economic ups and downs that frequently hamper the fixed-wing segment of aviation. According to Chris Jaran, managing director of Bell Helicopter China, who spoke at yesterday’s Helicopter Operations seminar at ABACE 2014, it’s a well-kept secret that the helicopter fleet in China has averaged a 20-percent increase from 2009 through 2014, from 227 to 465 aircraft (of which 35 percent are piston-powered and 65 percent turbine).

              The main difference between helicopters and business airplanes is that helicopters are used for many more types of aerial work and are easily adaptable to various missions. Half of China’s helicopter fleet is equipped for multi-mission capabilities, the most popular being disaster relief. Helicopter owners and operators are altruistic and want their machines to be available to help people during the next disaster, he said.

              The improving regulatory environment for general aviation in China has had a significant effect on the helicopter industry, Jaran said, with most airspace below 1,000 meters now available for flight operations. By 2015, he added, only a small number of military zones will be inaccessible, with the vast majority of low-altitude airspace open. “In some cases, there will be no need to get approval to fly after filing a flight plan,” he said.

              China has adapted its private pilot licensing regulations to more closely match U.S. requirements, which will promote growth of the pilot population. Other regulatory easing is underway to allow more maritime search-and-rescue, sea patrol and oil-and-gas operations, he said.

              Flight training in China is a big business, but the rate of growth of the helicopter fleet is outpacing the number of new pilots and the lack of pilot training facilities in China means that many trainees still travel to Australia and the US. “If we don’t get the next generation of pilots and mechanics coming into the industry” said Helicopter Association International president Matt Zuccaro, “it’s going to hamper growth.”

              Jaran, who is a member of the HAI Flight Operations Committee, is promoting the idea of launching a China HAI affiliate – a Helicopter Association of China – at this year’s Airshow China in Zhuhai in November. “We want a full-service organization here to help us stay safe and operate profitably” he said.


              • #8
                Yangi Lake Kempinski Hotel Seeks to Develop Helicopter Shuttle

                Negotiations are underway for a helicopter service to ferry guests from Beijing Airport to the new Yanqi Lake Kempinski, in the outer suburbs of Beijing, avoiding the city’s notorious traffic jams.

                Although airport-downtown helicopter shuttles are common in many major cities, there is currently no such service in Beijing, where air space is tightly controlled by the military.

                If the flights are instituted, it would be another significant achievement for the Yanqi Lake Kempinski property, which has already been designated as host venue for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, due to take place in early November.

                Helicopter services are being sought in Beijing to establish a new Airport-Hotel heli-shuttle

                General manager Brice Péan is currently holding talks with a local aviation company to see if a shuttle service is feasible. There are also plans to offer Great Wall helicopter flights for delegates of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE). It would take only minutes to whisk passengers from the grounds of the resort to China’s most famous structure, the only man-made building that can be seen from space.

                To get there by road takes around 20 minutes, with the city of Beijing located at least an hour’s drive away, significantly longer if vehicles are snared in the capital’s notorious traffic jams.

                The new hotel, owned by the Beijing government, is the first MICE-themed operation of its kind in the city, with a total of 595 guest rooms and suites and 14,095 square metres of conference space.


                • #9
                  Yalong General Airways Receives Aviation Bureau Certification for R44 'Sea Helicopter'

                  Yalong General Airways Ltd has completed flight trials of its R44 'sea helicopters' subsequent to receiving China Aviation Bureau airworthiness certification om 22nd June.

                  Yalong Airways R44 'Sea Helicopter'

                  Yalong General Airways plans to have three such kinds of sea helicopters in the Hainan Island market in the near future, offering sightseeing tours to Xisha Island, Haikou and other destinations. The sea helicopters can fly about 600 kilometers after full refueling.

                  Yalong are the first operator in Sanya Bay and Hainan Island

                  Aside from air travel, these sea helicopters will also be capable of being used for other purposes, such as marine emergency rescues.



                  • #10
                    Flying Club Formed in Tianjin in Northern China

                    The first private flying club in northeastern Chinese city Tianjin opened in a local airport on Saturday, China News Service reports.

                    The club, which is located in the Douzhuang Airport in the New Binhai Area, has access to more than 20 planes and helicopters.

                    Citizens can learn about flying skills from professional pilots, have a close look at all helicopters and planes, fly a plane in the New Binhai Area for sightseeing, and experience a farm life in the club. 'Experience flights' are also available for individuals and groups and cost
                    cost from 500 yuan to 12,000 yuan..

                    Customers can also live in a pilot accommodation community and dine at a pilot-themed restaurant in the airport.

                    Club manager Dou Ruchao believed that the market potential is great, as more and more people start to own a plane or rent a plane to experience flying.

                    Photos from Tianjin's first open day:



                    • #11
                      Xiamen Helicopter Service Receives AW109S

                      Xiamen Helicopter Service has taken delivery of an AW109S which will support the operations of its existing Bell 407. The company specialises in tourist flying but is looking to diversify into a range of charter services which it hopes will attract the support of local businesses and government.

                      Xiamen's new AW109S


                      • #12
                        Reignwood Instigate Beijing Heli-Tourism Service

                        Reignwood Aviation Group, a Beijing-based general aviation company, have launched helicopter and airplane tours around the capital city starting September 1st 2014.

                        Passengers can experience a Bell 407GX helicopter tour either in Huanggang Township or Tuner Tribe, also known as Cool Car Town, in Beijing's Chaoyang District.

                        A Reignwood Bell 407 lifts from the company helipad in Bejing as a new heli-tourist service is inaugurated

                        The Huanggang Landing Point offers a 15-minute tour for tourists to enjoy a bird's eye view of the Bird’s Nest, the Water Cube, Beijing Olympic Forest Park, the Olympic Tower, Pangu Plaza and Wangjing Boomtown, while the Tuner Tribe Landing Point operates a 10-mintue "Happy Valley Experience Tour" and a 20-minute "Bird's Nest-Water Cube-Olympic Sightseeing Tour."

                        Reignwood's Huanggang helipad in downtown Beijing

                        The "Happy Valley Experience Tour" allows tourists to have a bird's eye view of the Happy Valley park, Sihui transpotation hub and Tuner Tribe. Each tour costs between 1,000 yuan and more than 2,000 yuan.



                        • #13
                          AW109S City Centre Landing in Dafeng, Jiangsu Province

                          An AgustaWestland AW109S (B-7786) has landed in the car park of the Heping Restaurant in the coastal town of Dafeng City in Jiangsu Province China.

                          The 109 Grand is owned by Mr Su of the Tianjin Construction Company who pruchased the helicopter in April 2014. Mr Su returned to his home town of Dafeng on 8th September 2014 to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as the Moon Festival).

                          It is believed this is the first time a helicopter has landed in Dafeng City centre and the first time that the Heping Restaurant have made their cark park available for use as a helipad.

                          Mr Su was accompanied on Monday by his business partner.

                          Dafeng City centre landing photos:

                          AW109S B-7786 appears over the Dafeng City skyline being flown by her Italian pilot

                          The 109 descends over the parking lot of the Heping Restaurant in Dafeng City on 8th September

                          B-7786 lowers into the car park

                          The Heping Restaurant had cleared their car park in order to accommodate the landing

                          Safely down: The 109 remained at the Heping Restaurant throughout the visit to Dafeng


                          • #14
                            A Reignwood Aviation Bell 407GX conducted a life-saving medical flight in Beijing on Saturday 13th September. The 407 landed at a road intersection close to the hospital in order to reduce the patient's delivery time to intensive care. Traffic was cleared from the intersection by Beijing Police for approximately 15 minutes while the 407 off-loaded the patient.

                            A Reignwood Bell 407GX lands at a road intersection in Beijing on 13th September during the performance of a medevac flight


                            • #15
                              Special C-76 Sino-Spirit Displayed at Fujian Aerospace Exhibition

                              Traffic police stopped a truck carrying the well-known C-76 Sino-Spirit helicopter (and an armoured tank) on a highway in Wenzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province on Thursday, September 18, 2014.

                              The truck was delivering the helicopter (and tank) from Shanghai to East China's Fujian Province for an exhibition according to the truck driver surnamed Wang.

                              The truck with its special cargo caused a minor traffic congestion as drivers slowed down to take a look at the spectacle. Traffic police suggested to the drover the he covered-up such objects in the future in order to avoid distracting other motorists on the highway.

                              The Sino-Spirit stopping off at a Police checkpoint on its way to Fujian Province in East China

                              The driver was advised by local police to 'cover his goods' in the future so as to avoid distracting motorists

                              The C-76 Sino-Spirit was accompanied by an armoured tank for the journey

                              Editor's Note:
                              A small amount
                              (one might even say a smidgen) of 'poetic licence' has been employed in the re-telling of this news item.


                              • #16
                                'Homebuilt' Helicopter (Closely Resembling an R22) Features in Jiangsu Province Wedding

                                It was a fairytale wedding with a contemporary twist.

                                Rather than ride in a carriage conjured from a pumpkin by a fairy godmother to meet Prince Charming at his palace, the bride in Jiangsu province's Changzhou city arrived in a helicopter built by a friend to meet the groom at a hotel.

                                It's not uncommon in the city to rent a chopper for the big day but what made this ceremony special is that the aircraft was built by the groom's friend, a 40-year-old local entrepreneur who only gave his name as Shen to the Modern Express newspaper, which reported on Tuesday's wedding.

                                The helicopter built and piloted by local entrepreneur 'Shen' delivers the bride to her wedding in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province

                                The original plan was that Shen would fly over the ceremony to snap photographs. But friends suggested he should also bring the bride.

                                His chopper is similar to the Robinson R22, a popular two-seat American civilian aircraft.

                                An hour's flight costs him about 2,500 yuan ($407). He can fly about 500 kilometers on a full tank of fuel.

                                Shen became infatuated with aircraft as a child, and the idea of building his own came to him when he saw helicopters on TV two decades ago.

                                He moved from his hometown Yancheng to Changzhou to start his own company in the 1990s, and his dream of flight came to preoccupy him as his income swelled.

                                The bridge and her entourage with the 'homebuilt' helicopter (closely resembling an R22)

                                The entrepreneur began tinkering to create his own aircraft in 2008. Last year, he successfully test flew his first handmade helicopter. He and his team made all the parts aside from the engine and main rotor, which are imported. Shen has since built four choppers. Production costs range from hundreds of thousands to 1.5 million yuan.

                                Shen doesn't have a pilot's license but he says he's undergoing training and should receive one soon. "It's more dangerous to fly than drive," Shen told the paper. He says he has flown 120 hours since he took up piloting.

                                Another successful mission completed for the 'homebuilt' helicopter (which closely resembles an R22)

                                The amateur pilot has also shirked requirements to apply for airspace from air traffic control, record flight plans and get his helicopters certified as airworthy. He tells Modern Express he has submitted the relevant documents several times but in vain.

                                Still, he has even higher ambitions. Shen plans to start a light-sport aircraft project in Changzhou related to tourism and pilot training with a 50 million yuan investment.

                                The newspaper reports the proliferation of heliports in Jiangsu means companies and couples often rent choppers for ceremonies and weddings.

                                Suzhou Industrial Park Heliport Base has received more than a dozen rental requests since it opened this month, and about 50 individuals are undergoing pilot license training there.

                                The base is offering itineraries for tourists to take 10-minute flights over Suzhou and the provincial capital Nanjing for less than 1,000 yuan after the National Day holiday.

                                The Suzhou base is the second heliport owned by Ruo'er General Aviation Development Group, which opened the Nanjing Laoshan Heliport Base in 2009.

                                But sky-high demand and the entrepreneurial zeal of people like Shen seem to suggest Jiangsu's helicopter industry is just getting ready to take off.


                                • #17
                                  First EMS EC135 for China

                                  A new era in Chinese air ambulance operations began today with the delivery of an Airbus EC135 equipped for dedicated helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) missions.

                                  During a ceremony at the Airbus facility in Donauwörth, Germany, where the aircraft was assembled, the EC135 was handed-over to the 999 Emergency Rescue Center (999 Center) which is a Beijing Red Cross Foundation subsidiary.

                                  China's first EMS EC135 has been delivered

                                  “In addition to benefitting from the EC135’s excellence as an EMS helicopter, we also appreciate the added value of Airbus Helicopters’ experience and relationships with HEMS operators,” stated Mr. Ma Runhai, Executive Vice President of Beijing Red Cross Society of China. “It enables us to help achieve the national strategic goal of comprehensively deepening the reforms and propelling the modernization of the governance system and capacities. It will also help Beijing Red Cross Society of China to achieve the goal of becoming a leader in China and a first-class organization in the world.”

                                  The helicopter delivered today is the EC135 P2e version of Airbus Helicopters’ lightweight twin-engine rotorcraft family, and is fully equipped with medical systems from Bucher – the same provider for many established European HEMS operators.

                                  Crew from China's 999 Centre are currently in Donauwörth undergoing training

                                  “The EC135 is a benchmark for HEMS operators worldwide, as it has been designed with the expertise of doctors for medical transportation and services,” explained Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Germany. “It is the perfect platform to kick-start China’s efforts in ramping up its airborne emergency medical services.”

                                  A delegation of doctors from the 999 Center currently is undergoing familiarization courses in Augsbourg on the Bucher-supplied equipment, which follows a one-week introduction to HEMS in the ADAC HEMS Academy near Cologne. In parallel, Airbus Helicopters is providing rotorcraft training, organizing a cooperation outreach, and establishing relationships and workshops for the Chinese with leading European air rescue operators to ensure a smooth and successful initiation of the country’s new HEMS operations.

                                  “The relaxation of China’s low-altitude airspace augurs well for the development of HEMS which is very much needed in a country of such geographical and population size,” said Norbert Ducrot, President of Airbus Helicopters China. “999 Center’s initiative to launch this public service is highly commendable and will be well-appreciated by the people of China.”

                                  In addition to the initial EC135 P2e received today by the 999 Center, a second helicopter will be delivered in the first quarter 2015, and a letter of intent for two EC145 T2 rotorcraft also has been signed.


                                  • #18
                                    Western China International Fair Displays Helicopters

                                    The 15th Western China International Fair (WCIF) has opened in Chengdu Province China (on 23rd October) and will be running until 3rd November 2014. The trade and industry exhibition showcases products and services from around the world and is this year featuring a display of helicopters.

                                    With low-altitude airspace restrictions gradually easing, general aviation is starting to gain momentum across China according to local distributors.

                                    Organisers of the 15th WCIF have confirmed that considerable interest has been shown by Chinese businesses in the helicopter exhibits.

                                    A Bell 206 being displayed at the 15th Western China International Fair which runs until 3rd November

                                    A Bell 407 is currently on display at the 15th Western China International Fair​ which runs until 3rd November


                                    • #19
                                      China's First Dedicated Air Ambulance Service Begins

                                      With a population greater than Australia, rush hour traffic in Beijing has been a nightmare for ambulance drivers. Officials hope to change that and save more lives with the introduction of China’s first dedicated air-ambulance.

                                      China's first dedicated full-time air ambulance is now operational

                                      A twin-engine Airbus helicopter is making history as China’s first dedicated full-time air ambulance service. The helicopter will carry out emergency rescue missions, including transporting patients to hospitals. Sliding doors allow patients to be loaded and unloaded quickly and it is packed with the latest medical and monitoring equipment.

                                      “If you have any open field, even a playground, that’s enough space to land. It doesn’t need to be a helipad. Any of these places can receive landing permits,” said Tian Zhenbiao, the vice-director of Beijing 999 Emergency Rescue Medical Center.

                                      While the helicopter can allow faster transport in the air, the capital’s often heavy smog could slow it down. “We will judge the conditions at the time and decide if its safe to fly,” said Tian.

                                      There are nearly 900 air medical helicopters and 10,000 commercial helicopters in the United States, with a population of 360 million. Yet in China, with a population of 1.3 billion, has only 400 commercial helicopters.

                                      The air ambulance is already receiving calls, and it’s likely more Chinese cities will add such vehicles to their emergency response teams.


                                      • #20
                                        Recent Images of China's Z-8X Firefighter

                                        The Z-8 is a Chinese built version of the Aérospatiale (formerly Sud Aviation) SA321 Super Frelon, a three-engined transport helicopter.

                                        China acquired 13 Super Frelon naval helicopters in 1977-78. These helicopters came in two variants: anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search and rescue (SAR) versions. The Super Frelon was the first helicopter of the PLA to be capable of operating from the flight deck of surface vessels. China also produces the Super Frelon locally under the designation Z-8 (land- or-ship based ASW/SAR helicopter). The Super Frelon remains operational with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy as of 2014. The Z-8X is a version tasked for firefighting duties and also remains in service.

                                        China's Z-8X Firefighting helicopter WJS91001 receiving pre-flight preparations

                                        The Z-8X remains in service as a firefighter throughout China

                                        The Z-8 offers rear-loading ramp access

                                        WJS91004 departs on a fire training exercise


                                        • #21

                                          Bell Sells Six More 407's to China

                                          Bell Helicopter have announced the sale of six Bell 407GX aircraft at Airshow China in Zhuhai. The announcements were made as part of a formal signing ceremonies at the Bell Helicopter display. The aircraft will be used for a variety of missions from aircraft leasing to general aviation.

                                          “We are very pleased to have all four customers here at Airshow China to celebrate the addition of the Bell 407GX to each of their fleets. The Bell 407GX has seen tremendous success here in China,” said Chris Jaran, Bell Helicopter’s vice president, China. “The aircraft’s versatility is a key differentiator for us. We have numerous customers performing multiple roles in the same aircraft, and with just a quick interior change, this aircraft can go from one mission to another.”

                                          Bell has secured orders for an additional six 407GX's during the 10th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition

                                          Throughout the first two days of the airshow, Bell Helicopter has signed purchase agreements with the following customers:

                                          · Hunan Jiucheng General Aviation Corporation – (1) 407GX

                                          · Guangdong Daohe General Aviation – (1) 407GX

                                          · General Aviation Services of Hunan – (2) 407GX

                                          · Aerochine Aviation, Ltd. – (2) 407GX

                                          The Bell 407GX is adaptable to a variety of missions and features the Garmin G1000HTM avionics package and enhanced safety features. The aircraft is able to store critical flight data that can be retrieved on an SD card allowing maintenance crews to measure and track certain flight parameters.

                                          “The Bell 407GX also has multiple safety features that help the pilot focus on flying,” continued Jaran. “For example, the helicopter terrain awareness and warning system monitors the terrain for the pilot and provides an alert if the pilot’s attention is required. The newest autopilot upgrade, announced just a few months ago, allows the pilot to maintain a stable hover pattern and to concentrate on other aspects of flying.”

                                          In addition, a separate celebration was held for Hainan Sanya Yalong GA, who purchased two Bell 407GXs earlier this year. The first was delivered in August and the second will be delivered in March 2015.

                                          The 10th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 2014) is held in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China from Nov. 11 – 16.


                                          • #22

                                            Shanghai's Kingwing Appointed Authorised AW Service Centre

                                            AgustaWestland have announced that Kingwing General Aviation Co. Ltd. (KINGWING) have been appointed an Authorized Service Centre in China for the AW139 intermediate twin helicopter. The type will be supported with maintenance services supplied through three bases including heliports in Shanghai Gaodong, Xiamen and Fuzhou Zhuqi. With 50 CAAC (Civil Aviation Authority of China) licensed and qualified technicians, KINGWING, reinforced by AgustaWestland’s expansive worldwide support network, will provide local, responsive, and tailored after-sale support to the Chinese customers.

                                            This latest achievement is a major step forward for the development of a network of support centres in China, providing further evidence of AgustaWestland’s commitment to staying closer to its growing customer base and deliver the level of service the operators deserve. More than 110 AgustaWestland helicopters of various type has been sold to Chinese customers to date to satisfy a range of mission requirements, including law enforcement, rescue, disaster relief, firefighting, public utility, patrol, environmental monitoring, harbour pilot shuttle, VIP and passenger transport duties. Seventy of these aircraft have been sold in the last 12 months, confirming AgustaWestland’s successful position in the important Chinese market.

                                            Shanghai Kingwing General Aviation Co., Ltd (KINGWING) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai Zenisun Investment Group Co., Ltd (Zenisun Group). The company has obtained the Class-A qualification for general aviation company approved by Civil Aviation Administration of China. KINGWING operates 14 advanced helicopters and owns many operating bases in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian provinces and Shanghai. It plans to build more helicopter operating bases in different areas throughout China to form a costal operating base network for helicopter flight. Relying on continuously extended base network, KINGWING is able to provide high-quality flight services (aerial photography, trial flight, flight training, private entertainment flying, aerial advertising, patrol flight, static show, etc) and one-stop helicopter operation supporting services such as purchase consulting, heliport construction & operation, aircrew allocation, maintenance & engineering, aerial route application, helicopter operations and related services.


                                            • #23
                                              China: An Investment Destination

                                              China's civilian helicopter market has great potential as there are only several hundred civil helicopters in the country, about one-hundredth the number of the United States, the Shanghai-based China Business News reports, citing Tan Ruisong, president of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

                                              AVIC has a unit for manufacturing civilian helicopters, including the two-ton AC311, four-ton AC312 and 13-ton AC313, and is conducting research to develop and produce a seven-ton AC352 and a three-ton AC3X2 helicopter. At a recent aviation show, AVIC won orders to produce 111 civilian helicopters for both Chinese and overseas clients.

                                              An MD902 and MD500E displayed at the Xhuhai Air Show in Guangdong in November

                                              Of this total, AVIC's subsidiary signed a contract to sell 20 helicopters to a US company to be used for tourism and cargo transportation between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, becoming the first Chinese helicopter maker to export to a developed country.

                                              While AVIC is developing its overseas markets, more and more foreign helicopter manufacturers are zeroing in on the Chinese market. Since last year, AgustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian company that is the world's second biggest helicopter maker, has forged an alliance with a unit of Zenisun Group to jointly develop the Chinese market.

                                              In addition to public service usage such as medical rescue and police patrols, more and more helicopters are used for private or commercial flights, Zenisun said. Quite a few entrepreneurs are using helicopters not only for transportation, but also for status.

                                              AgustaWestland is the world's only helicopter maker to offer a family helicopter concept, supplying helicopters for anywhere from 30-300 million yuan (US$5-$49 million). AgustaWestland previously sold its helicopters mostly to government agencies in police or aviation units, but from the start of this year more and more private entrepreneurs have become clients, with its AW119Kx helicopter finding its first mainland buyers during the latest aviation show and several more helicopters scheduled to be delivered in China next year.

                                              However, in China, all flights must first register with the military and aviation authorities, and pilots can fly only after obtaining approval. After purchasing helicopters, owners typically must pay 5%-10% of the purchase price of their helicopters as custodial costs including submitting applications. Zenisun has therefore set up a unit to offer training, operational and custodial services for helicopter flights.

                                              China still lacks airports that can accommodate helicopters and the government hopes private enterprises can build airport facilities to do so, as Zenisun has done since 2009. Zenisun has obtained licenses to operate helicopters in Xiamen, Fuzhou and Wuyishan, all in Fujian province.


                                              • #24
                                                China's Pilot Shortage

                                                There is growing demand for short-range flights serving businesses and tourists, but the issue is who will fly them.

                                                Li Jian, a 25-year-old helicopter pilot, has just signed up to fly with a general aviation operator based in Hebei province.

                                                Li has been interested in flying since childhood. He was an aviation technician before attending a flight school for nine months in the United States, and he said that most of his classmates easily found jobs after getting their licenses.

                                                "Many general aviation operators are eager to hire pilots and it is not a problem for us to get a job," Li said.

                                                The demand for general aviation pilots is set to increase as China further opens its low-altitude airspace. But talent is scarce, and that may constrain the sector's development, experts said.

                                                "The industry will benefit immensely from airspace management reform, but airspace is not the top challenge for the general aviation industry," said Wu Jingkui, chairman of the Asian Business Aviation Association. A bigger problem is the shortage of skilled staff.

                                                A problem like that takes time to solve to ensure the sector's safe, efficient and steady growth, he said.

                                                "I do not expect to see the industry boom suddenly," Wu said. "Everything, from pilot training to researching the business, takes time."

                                                Some general aviation operators plan to train pilots themselves.

                                                Bi Wei, chairman of CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co Ltd, the largest helicopter operator in China, said the company has been given approval to train pilots and technicians, and it will build a training center and schools for the purpose.

                                                It will also help train pilots for other operators. On Nov 11, the company signed a contract to train three pilots for China Rescue and Salvage, under the Ministry of Transport.

                                                "As the general aviation industry develops, the training business will be a huge market," Bi said.

                                                Other companies also want a slice of that market.

                                                Zhang Jian is the general manager of HNA Aviation Academy's marketing department, a subsidiary of HNA Group Co Ltd. That group is the parent of Hainan Airlines, which operates a network of scheduled domestic and international flights.

                                                The HNA academy, the second-largest flying school in China in term of training hours, is moving into the private-license training business, but only 5 percent of its trainees are on that track at present.

                                                About 130 to 140 students will graduate from the school this year, and most of them will work on scheduled flights, Zhang said, adding that the school has not seen a marked increase in general aviation trainees.


                                                • #25
                                                  China Helicopter Tours

                                                  Hainan Sanya Yalong General Aviation are offering scenic flights over Sanya Bay, East Island, Phoenix Island, Luhuitou, Wuzhizhou Island, Haitang Bay and Nanshan, for those visiting Hainan Province in China. See post #9.

                                                  Hainan Sanya Yalong General Aviation R-44 Clipper II B-7653 as seen at Sanya Heliport in China on 21st January 2015