The LE500, the first Chinese general plane model to enter the African market, has completed a successful first flight in South Africa, China’s Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) said Monday.
Two LE500 planes, dubbed Little Eagle 500 in Chinese, have successfully conducted their first flights at a pilot training school in South Africa, said the state-owned aviation giant. They will soon enter the local general aviation market as the standard for pilot training and other general aviation missions. This is the first time that a Chinese-developed general aircraft model has entered the African market. The LE500 is a 4-to-5 seat plane developed by the AVIC General Aircraft Company (AVIC GENERAL). It is China’s first domestically-developed light versatile aircraft to pass the CCAR Part-23 airworthiness test, a certified standard for small fixed-wing airplanes issued by Chinese civil aviation authorities.
The model is often used to train pilots, but can also be used for other general aviation activities such as aerial photography, sightseeing, tourism, and air patrol. The LE500 has obtained South Africa’s type airworthiness certificate (TAC), according to AVIC GENERAL. To date, more than 80 LE500 planes have been delivered to domestic and overseas markets. AVIC will send technical service and maintenance teams to support the smooth operation of LE500 planes in South Africa, as well as arrange pilot training and technical support to better serve local customers. Moreover, AVIC plans to set up a South Africa-based service and support system for the plane, aiming to further promote the Chinese-developed aircraft and meet demands from local customers. To date, China has delivered a total of 83 aircraft to African countries, including the MA60 series regional planes, Y-12 general planes, and LE500.