A model of SA160 [Photo/sunwardtech.com]
China’s first all-composite five-seat aircraft, the Sunward SA160L, recently completed its first flight in Central China’s Hunan province, marking a breakthrough in the country’s own brand general aircraft industry.
The Sunward SA160L made its maiden test flight, which was about 60 minutes, at the Lusong airport in Hunan on Oct 2, demonstrating its good power system, pneumatic and control performance.
Hunan Sunward Science and Technologies Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Sunward Intelligent Equipment Co Ltd, produced the composite aircraft with an empty weight of 900 kilograms and a maximum take-off weight of 1,600 kilograms.
The plane is 100 to 150 kilograms lighter than similar foreign models due to the composite materials used. Compared with traditional metal materials, the composite materials are lighter and stronger.
The company started the SA160L program in 2015, targeting the high-end luxury private aircraft market, taking safety, comfort and excellent flight performance as design standards.
This model is undergoing approval for civil aviation products. The first meeting of the type certification board was held on July 31, with experts from the Civil Aviation Administration of China and local aviation authorities.
The plane will be on sale by the end of 2020, making China a player in the global light aircraft market.