China’s MA60 Firefighting Aircraft Moves Closer to Certification

BEIJING, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) — China’s independently-developed MA60 firefighting aircraft, a new member of the Modern Ark multipurpose aircraft family, is progressing forward on its airworthiness certification process, according to the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

As an aircraft model tailored to serve emergency rescue missions, MA60 successfully completed a key test flight, which consisted of hedgehopping and dropping six tonnes of water, said the AVIC, China’s leading aircraft manufacturer.

The aircraft successfully conducted the water drop over the scheduled site at a very low altitude of 55 meters. The test took place at an airport in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

The development and flight-test teams undertook a phased approach to carry out this flight test. They evaluated the aerial water-dropping performance of the aircraft by loading it with half of its maximum water-carrying capacity and gradually increasing it to its full capacity. Finally, they were able to complete this key flight test mission.

This success marked a breakthrough in core tech-indicators of the firefighting mission system of this special-purpose aircraft. It is a milestone of the MA60 firefighting aircraft project and lays a solid foundation for its airworthiness certification process, said the AVIC.

The development team will now accelerate follow-up flight tests for the aircraft’s airworthiness compliance verification, stepping closer towards obtaining the airworthiness certification and delivering the aircraft to customers, it added.

The MA60 firefighting aircraft is a large and medium-sized fixed-wing plane model that is specially tailored to serve aerial firefighting and other emergency rescue missions, enhancing the country’s emergency air rescue capabilities, said the AVIC.

It is developed by AVIC XAC Commercial Aircraft Co., Ltd. in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, with independent intellectual property rights. It is also in full compliance with the airworthiness regulations of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Inheriting the mature technologies and advantages of the Modern Ark aircraft family, the MA60 firefighting aircraft features a high cruising speed, long range, flight in low speeds at low altitudes and good reliability.

Furthermore, the developer has improved the aircraft’s fuselage, added multiple functional systems, such as those for water-dropping and fire monitoring. It has also made a series of adaptive changes to the cabin configuration, air conditioning, oxygen supply and multiple other systems.

Notably, this new aircraft model is capable of quickly transitioning from firefighting missions to transport. Following a convenient configuration modification at airport, the aircraft can flexibly carry out both emergency rescue operations and transport tasks for both personnel and supplies. Therefore, it will play an important role in enhancing the effectiveness of disaster relief and other emergency rescue operations, according to the developer.

The comprehensive improvements and new systems empower the newly-developed MA60 firefighting aircraft to carry out multiple roles in emergency rescue.

It can effectively perform multiple rescue operations, such as aerial water dropping, airborne telecommunications support, fire prevention and monitoring, according to the developer.

Prior to the newly-developed MA60 firefighting model, the Modern Ark family has cultivated a series of aircraft models: MA60 and MA600 turboprop regional aircraft, civil freighter, and multipurpose aircraft models for precipitation enhancement and other fields, according to the developer.

By now, more than 100 aircraft of the Modern Ark family has been delivered globally and served around 300 routes at home and abroad, according to the AVIC. Enditem

Ryan Mason
Ryan Mason
Ryan is an accomplished writer and aerial photographer that has worked in the aviation industry for over a decade before co-founding AerialFire Magazine. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ryan is a former police officer that focuses his writing and photography efforts on para-public operations and agricultural aviation.

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