Move requested by operators will double N-5's load to 1.5t and ceiling to 26,300ft

China's Hongdu Aviation Industry has begun ground tests of an upgraded version of its N-5 agricultural aircraft ahead of a planned March 2005 first flight.

Deputy general manager of Hongdu's civil aircraft division, Huang Xue Jun, says the N-5B should be ready for delivery by the end of next year with the choice of a Canadian Orenda piston or Czech Walter turboprop engine.

The original N-5, which will continue to be manufactured, is powered by a Textron Lycoming engine. The engine switch will double the aircraft's load from 760kg (1,680lb) to 1.5t and the ceiling from 13,000ft (4,000m) to 26,300ft, says Huang.

Huang says the N-5 has been upgraded at the request of Chinese agricultural and forestry operators and may later be sold abroad, but expects it will be at least six years before the aircraft is certificated by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Hongdu's civil aircraft division also manufactures the Swallow, a civilian variant of the PT-6 military trainer and assembles MD Helicopters MD 500/600s. Shenyang and Changjiang General Aviation, both Hongdu subsidiaries, have each ordered four Chinese-assembled MD 500/600s.

Hongdu's larger military aircraft division builds PT-6 and K-8 trainers for the Chinese air force and overseas customers.



Source: Flight International