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Biggest seaplane graceful as a swan

China (China Daily) -- The world’s largest amphibious aircraft, the Chinese-made AG600, carried out its maiden flight on Sunday morning in Zhuhai, a coastal city in Guangdong province.

The AG600, the world’s largest seaplane, lands in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, after its maiden flight on Sunday.

An AG600, piloted by four crew members, took off from the Zhuhai Jinwan Airport at 9:50 am and remained airborne for about an hour before returning.
A congratulatory letter sent by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council was read out at a ceremony to mark the maiden flight, attended by Vice-Premier Ma Kai and Guangdong Party chief Li Xi, as well as hundreds of other officials and about 3,000 spectators.
The central government approved development of the AG600 in June 2009, with the work taken on by Aviation Industry Corp of China, the country’s leading aircraft maker. Construction on the first prototype began in March 2014 and was completed in July 2016.
In April, the first ground taxiing test was successful. Earlier this month, the seaplane received the government’s approval for Sunday’s first flight.
The AG600 is one of the three large-size aircraft borne from the nation’s ambitious effort to become a top-tier player in the global aviation sector, joining the Y-20 strategic transport plane, delivery of which to the Chinese Air Force began in July 2016, and the C919 narrow-body jetliner that is being flight tested.
The amphibious aircraft will mainly be tasked with performing aerial firefighting and maritime search and rescue.
It can also be refitted to conduct marine environmental inspection, marine resources surveying and personnel and supply transportation, according to the manufacturer.
Powered by four domestically designed WJ-6 turboprop engines, the AG600 has a size roughly comparable to that of a Boeing 737 and a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 metric tons. These specifications have made it the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, surpassing Japan’s ShinMaywa US-2 and Russia’s Beriev Be-200.
The aircraft can take off and land on both ground and water. It has an operational range of more than 4,000 kilometers and is capable of carrying 50 people during a maritime search-and-rescue mission.


(Latest Update
December 26,
2017)


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