Photo courtesy of Safran Helicopter Engines
China’s Avicopter AC352, the Chinese counterpart of the Airbus Helicopters H175, made a successful first flight in Harbin China Tuesday. Unlike the H175, the AC352 is powered by Safran Helicopter Engine’s WZ16. The helicopter is a product of collaboration between Airbus Helicopters and Avicopter, which has celebrated its 60th year in 2016.
Avicopter first revealed a prototype for the aircraft in September 2015. That prototype completed tests with the engine in December 2015.
Safran’s engine inside the 7-ton, twin-engine, multipurpose rotorcraft met all the performance targets set for this maiden flight. A turboshaft engine in the 1,500- to 2,000-shp class, it features a compact modular architecture with relatively lower fuel consumption and cost-of-ownership. The WZ16 is also known as the Ardiden 3C. EASA and Civil Aviation Admin. of China (CAAC) certifications are expected in 2017 and 2018, respectively. It was jointly developed by Safran, CAPI and Dongan — the latter of which are parts of the new Aero Engine Corp. of China (AECC) consortium. The companies are also collaborating for production.