China’s locally built and developed AG600 amphibious aircraft conducted its first waterborne take-off on 20 October in the country’s central province of Hubei.
The 37 m-long flying boat took off from a reservoir near Zhanghe Airport in Jingmen at around 08:50 h (local time) and landed back on the water after a 14-minute flight, according to the state-owned Xinhua news agency.
The move comes after the aircraft’s developer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), was quoted in May as saying that the AG600 is expected to be available for delivery to customers by 2022. “We are endeavouring to get the airworthiness certification from the civil aviation authorities by 2021, and deliver it [the aircraft] to the customers by 2022,” the aircraft’s chief designer, Huang Lingcai, said at the time without naming any countries as possible customers.
The AG600, which conducted its maiden take-off from land on 24 December 2017, has a wing span of 38.8 m and is the third-largest aircraft designed and built in the country following the Y-20 military transport aircraft, which entered service in 2016, and the 190-seat C-919 commercial passenger aircraft, which made its maiden flight in July 2017.
Powered by four WJ-6 turboprop engines (derivatives of the Ivchenko AI-20), the AG600 has a cruising speed of 500 km/h, an endurance of 12 hours, and a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes.
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