[photopress:air_ma700.jpg,full,alignright]The first China-made regional aircraft Modem Ark (MA) 600 was completed this week.
Lin Zuomin, head of the preparation group for the China Aviation Industry Group, said that research and development of the next model, the 70-seat MA700, was already underway.
The 60-seat MA600, an improved version of the MA60, is 300 kilograms lighter, making it 40% more fuel efficient than earlier turbofan-powered aircraft.
Lin Zuomin said that within five years, China would be able to deliver its own turbo-prop regional jet series of the MA60, MA600, MA700 each catering to different usage.
The MA600 is scheduled to make its maiden flight in September.
Beijing Youth Daily has reported that 10 to 15 MA600s will be manufactured in the next two years. Up to 30 a year could be made according to market demand. Mass production will start in late 2009.
The China Aerospace Industry Research Center forecasts 5,300 to 5,500 regional aircraft will be needed in the next 20 years, of which 1,900 will be turboprop aircraft.
Turbo propeller regional aircraft are commonly used on short and medium range flights.
Source: People’s Daily Online