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China's AG600 amphibious aircraft conducts first take-off from sea

China’s locally built and developed AG600 amphibious aircraft conducted its first take-off from the sea on 26 July, the aircraft’s developer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), announced that same day via its Weixin social media site.

AVIC said that the 37 m-long aircraft took off from waters off the coastal Chinese city of Qingdao, in eastern Shandong Province, at 1018 h (local time), conducted a set of aerial manoeuvres, and completed the test flight 31 minutes later by returning to Rizhao Shanzihe Airport, also in Shandong Province, where it had originally set out from to conduct the test.

The move follows the aircraft’s first waterborne take-off on 20 October from a reservoir near Zhanghe Airport in Jingmen, in China’s central Hubei Province, and its first take-off from land, which took place in December 2017 from Zhuhai in southern Guangdong Province.

The move comes after AVIC was quoted in May 2018 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 has a wing span of 38.8 m and is the third-largest aircraft designed and built in China 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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