AG600 amphibious plane makes successful water-based test flight

By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/21 23:13:39

Photo: Courtesy of Aviation Industry Corporation of China

Photo: Courtesy of Aviation Industry Corporation of China

China's first domestically made large amphibious aircraft, the AG600, successfully made its first water-based test flight Saturday morning in Jingmen, Central China's Hubei Province, with experts predicting the aircraft to cover the entire South China Sea with its far-reaching rescue and monitoring capabilities.

The aircraft lifted off from the waters of Jingmen's Zhanghe Reservoir at 8:51 am, and made a water-borne landing at 9:05 am, marking the success of its first water-based test flight, according to a statement manufacturer Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) released Saturday.

The latest water-based test flight came after the AG600 made its land-based maiden flight in December last year.

President Xi Jinping on Saturday sent congratulatory messages on the successful water takeoff and landing of the AG600, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The success of the aircraft's first on-water flight marks another significant achievement through independent innovation by China's aviation industry, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Huang Lingcai, chief designer of the AG600, said the water-based test flight presented many more difficulties than the previous test flight.

"The density of water is about 800 times the density of air, but the aircraft has to reach the same speed to take off on land and water, so the drag reduction function must be well-designed," he told the Global Times.

Huang added that water splash must be controlled as well to avoid damage to the engine and propellers.

Codenamed "Kunlong" and designed to be the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600 will be mainly used for maritime rescue, fighting forest fires and marine monitoring.

The AG600 can reach further distances and travel faster than helicopters and other vessels, and is capable of covering more than 4,000 kilometers in a rescue mission.

It can also carry 50 survivors or payloads of the same weight and take off with waves up to two meters in height.

Being able to cover all of the South China Sea, the AG600 could also join military operations, said military experts.

It can also take in 12 tons of water either from its land base or directly from water surface before being deployed for firefighting missions, greatly expanding China's capability to fight forest fires.

The AG600 is the third member of China's large aircraft family after the transport aircraft Y-20 made its maiden flight in 2013.

Also, the passenger aircraft C919 made its maiden flight in 2017.

Posted in: MILITARY

blog comments powered by Disqus