SF Express Co., Ltd, China’s biggest delivery service company, completed a public test flight on Oct. 16 with its new unmanned delivery drone, named Feihong-98, in cooperation with China Aerospace Times Electronics Co., Ltd, an aerospace electronics products manufacturer.
Feihong-98 is converted from Y-5B, China’s first homegrown transport aircraft based on Russia’s Antonov An-2. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 5.25 tons, top payload of 1.5 tons, and a volume space of 15 cubic meters. It can reach a max flight altitude of 4500 meters and a max speed of 180 km/h.
Due to its ability to take off with minimal running distance, large load capacity, and high performance-cost ratio, Y-5B aircrafts are considered one of the most suitable models to be used as cargo carriers.
SF Express and China Aerospace Times Electronics signed a strategic cooperation agreement in August of 2017, planning to collaborate on research and development on large-scale unmanned delivery aircrafts. It took a record-breaking eight months for the team to apply the technologies and complete the research and development core technologies.
In August this year, Feihong-98 finished its first test flight. Later it received an operation approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. All testing procedures should be completed by June 2019.
Once Feihong-98 is successfully put into operation, it will allow SF Express to better accommodate not only major, but other minor aerial delivery courses as well. The company would also be able to strengthen its advantage of having an enhanced integration between its land and ground delivery coverage, and information web. Many believe Feihong-98 can greatly contribute to the establishment of a standard for aerial deliveries, unmanned aircraft management, and airspace control systems in China.