Maiden test flight: World’s largest amphibious plane

Beijing: China’s indigenously designed and built amphibious aircraft AG600, touted as the world’s largest, successfully carried out its first take-off and landing tests on Saturday. The aircraft, developed and built by the state-owned aircraft firm Aviation Industry Corporation of China, took off and later landed on the water in Hubei province’s Jingmen, state-run China Daily reported.

The seaplane took off from the Zhanghe Reservoir at 8:51 am (local time) and stayed airborne for about 15 minutes, said the report which also accompanied the videos of the aircraft’s take off. The aircraft code-named Kunlong was piloted by four crew members. Early this month, it completed its first water taxiing trials at a high speed of 145 km.

Designed to be the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, AG600 is powered by four domestically-built turboprop engines and has a range of 12 hours. It will be mainly used for maritime rescue, fighting forest fires and marine monitoring, according to an earlier report by the state-run Xinhua news agency. The aircraft has passed a series of tests since its maiden flight last December. It successfully finished eight taxiing tests on water at a speed of 80-kmph and 120-kmph.

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