The East African nation of Tanzania has begun the manufacture of its own helicopters, and according to reports, it will be taking to the skies soon.
A two seater chopper which is in its final stages of production will start test flights once it is granted permission by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority.
The plan was initiated by the Arusha Technical College, department of Mechanical and Engineering as an alternative to easing the transport issues by offering affordable choppers to Tanzanians.
“We are complementing President Magufuli’s industrialisation policy in pioneering the first locally made helicopters that will be available to ordinary residents at affordable prices,” explained the man behind the ATC chopper project, Engineer Abdi Mjema.
Initiated two months ago with the aim of using the chopper for surveillance, rescue and agricultural purposes but reframed for people transportation.
Now at 50 percent completion the pioneer air craft has a chassis as well as airframe ready and also the popular gasoline powered VW flat engine board that is also used to make the “Robinson” helicopters in the US, but the craft will be ready in three weeks’ time.
“Once we get the aviation authority approval, we shall complete the most sensitive part of the helicopter mounting the main rotor” said the engineer.
The chopper will have a flying ceiling of 400 to begin with, due to the high altitude in the mountainous region and a non-pressurized cabin, but will have it increased to the flying height of a normal commercial chopper which is 8,000 feet above sea level.
Arusha city in the northern region of Tanzania is looking to make history as the first region to fly the first-ever Tanzanian manufactured helicopter in July 2016.
The college says they will be able to produce up to 20 choppers in a year when the project gets a nod from higher authorities.
“The Tanzania-made helicopters will fly before 2020 and specifically 2018, which is two years from now,” said Engineer Mjema.