An unmanned helicopter, the largest of its kind in China, has successfully completed its first flight, Xinhua reported.
The unmanned helicopter, with a maximum take-off weight of 757 kg, was launched from the flight-test centre of the Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace Industry Co. Ltd. in Shandong province in east China. The chopper hovered for 10 minutes, performing a few manoeuvres before finishing with a stable landing.
The helicopter has a maximum load capacity of 80 kg. It can fly 500 km nonstop for more than four hours with a maximum speed of 161 km per hour. Its maximum operating altitude is 3,000 m.
China already has small unmanned helicopters with a takeoff weight of about 100 kg. Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace reportedly bought a U.S. aircraft engine company in 2009 with a view to developing medium-sized choppers.
The aircraft can be controlled from within a distance of 150 km or it can be automatically programmed. The helicopter would be useful in surveillance, search and rescue, and scientific exploration for both military and civilian purposes, said Cheng Shenzong, chairman of the Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace Industry Co. Ltd.