In a clip aired on Jan. 31, a pilot flying a Changhe Z-18 transport helicopter triggered a warning signal as he reached a height of 8,900 m above sea level. The craft continued to gain altitude though, eventually reaching 9,000 m and flying above Mount Everest.
The Z-18's success means China now has the ability to produce large military helicopters that can work in plateau areas and no longer needs to rely on US Black Hawks.
The Chinese aircraft, developed by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation, became the second helicopter that the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army could use in plateaus. The first one was the Sikorsky S-70 developed by Sikorsky Aircraft which China has been using since the mid- 1980s.
Changhe Aircraft Industries built the Z-18 by modifying the Avicopter AC313, a transport helicopter developed by Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
The People's Liberation Army Navy Changhe Z-18 medium transport helicopter.