February 27, 2018

China OKs Kaman's K-MAX to fly

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
Kaman Corp.'s K-MAX heavy-lift helicopter earned a reputation for low operating and maintenance costs.

China has certified Kaman Corp.'s workhorse K-MAX helicopter to provide its heavy-lift and firefighting capabilities to the world's most populous nation, the Bloomfield aeroparts-industrial power equipment maker says.

Kaman Aerospace announced Tuesday the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) certified its single-seat K-MAX for flight service there. Kaman said CAAC also authorized a Chinese company, Guangdong Juxiang General Aviation Co. Ltd., to operate the K-Max there.

Kaman has long eyed China and other emerging overseas markets as ideal terrain for the K-MAX, capable of serving remote areas, some of which are plagued by wildfires.

Originally developed by founder Charles H. Kaman and introduced to the aviation marketplace in the mid-1990s, the K-MAX has become a staple in some civilian fleets in the U.S. and abroad. Renowned for its ability to lift loads up to three tons for construction and fighting fires despite its relatively small size and single engine, the sturdy K-MAX's reliability and low operating costs have earned the rotary aircraft a cadre of loyal fans worldwide.

Some K-MAX operators claim to have gotten offers to sell their used craft for more than they paid for them decades earlier.

An unmanned drone version of the K-MAX developed for the Marine Corps also was used for a time during the war in Iraq, to ferry food, medicine and ammo to soldiers on the battlefield. The military uses the K-MAX for testing and training in Yuma, Ariz.

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