China’s AG600 to Begin Trial Water Flights
The aircraft, known as Kunlong (Water Dragon) AG600 seaplane, is finally set to begin it’s flight tests on water. The AG600 made its maiden flight in December, 2017 and recently completed its most recent ground training flight from Zhuhai to Jingmen, China on August 27, 2018 according to Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the state owned aircraft developer of the aircraft.
Flight trials on water will begin soon and all initial testing will be conducted on the Zhanghe reservoir near Jingmen city in China’s Hubei province.
The AG600 is believed to be the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, and is very similar in size to the Boeing 737 at 37 meters long with a 38.8 meter wingspan. The AG600’s maximum takeoff weight is 53.5 tons, and its maximum cruising speed is 500 kilometers per hour. It’s powered by four WJ-6 turboprop engines which have a maximum operational range of 4,500 kilometers without refueling, which can mean as much as 12 hours of flight time.
Needing, supposedly, only 2.5 meters of water to take-off and land, the Kunlong is planned to be used primarily for marine search and rescue, and aerial firefighting missions. Although the Chinese government has already begun making plans for how to get more use from the plane. With 17 already on order for the Chinese, we know that they, along with the rest of the waterflying world will be eagerly awaiting these first on-water flights.
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