The maiden flight from land of the world's largest amphibious aircraft, AG600, will take place this spring and from water later this year, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) announced on March 11.
The AG600 is the first independently developed large-scale special-purposed civil aircraft in China. It came off the assembly line of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) South China Aircraft Industry (Zhuhai) in Jinwan District on July 23. This milestone for China's large-aircraft industry joins the transport aircraft Xi'an Y-20 and C919 passenger jet. It debuted last November in the static display area of Airshow China 2016.
The Ministry of Industry & Information Technology (MIIT) set up the project to meet the need for domestic forest firefighting and water rescue.
AG600 at Airshow China 2016
The AG600 measures 36.9 m in length, 38.8 m in wingspan, and 12.1 m in height. With four turboprop engines, it can draw onboard 12 tons of water within 20 seconds, with a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tons. A full tank of water could cover a fire spread of up to 4,000 sq m. It can evacuate up to 50 people in a single search-and-rescue (SAR) mission on water.
The aircraft can take off and land from 1,500 m-long, 200 m-wide and 2.5 m-deep waters. It can be equipped with customer-specific equipment to conduct maritime surveillance, resource detection, as well as passenger and cargo transport missions. So far, 17 AG600s have been ordered, showing favorable market prospects.
AG600 [Photos by Liang Xu / xinhuanews.net]
According to AVIC, AG600 will leapfrog development in emergency rescue aeronautic equipment system construction. The aircraft will also advance general aviation and civil aircraft industries by lifting the design and manufacturing capabilities of seaplanes.