China’s new AVIC AG600 amphibious aircraft has performed its maiden high speed water-based taxiing trials on the Jingmen River on Oct. 1.
Here is the video. pic.twitter.com/X69gPF8jMu
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) October 1, 2018
During the taxiing trials, the characteristics of the aircraft under high-speed conditions and different flap configurations was assessed. The trails also verified AG600’s attitude change control characteristics, splash characteristics, water manoeuvrability, stability and watertight performance.
On Aug. 26 this year, the aircraft was transferred to the Jingmen Weihe Airport in Hubei Province, and entered the water-based test stage. Earlier this month, it completed its low and medium speed water-based taxi trials on the Jingmen River.
The aircraft manufacturer, Aviation Industry Group Corporation (AVIC), has organized the technical quality review meeting for the maiden water-based flight trial, in Jingmen, Hubei on Sept. 29. The passing of the review marked a major milestone for the AG600 project.
According to the manufacturer, AG600 is scheduled to make its first test flight over water later this year.
AVIC AG600 “Kunlong”, also known as TA-600, is a large amphibious flying boat that is being designed and built in China by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
AG600 is dubbed as the world’s largest amphibious aircraft currently being built and is comparable in size with a Boeing 737 airliner.
The China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), which has started work on the prototype AG600, has announced that the aircraft will have a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 t (53,500 kg; 118,000 lb) and a maximum range of over 5,000 km (3,100 mi).
The aircraft will have a wingspan of 38.8 metres (127 ft) and will be powered by four turboprop engines. the first flight was initially forecast for 2015 but was postponed until the first half of 2017. The forward fuselage was completed in 2015. The prototype was rolled out on 23 July 2016 at the Zhuhai AVIC factory.
The amphibious aircraft can be used for maritime rescue, marine environment monitoring, military operation and fighting forest fires.
AVIC states that the AG600 will be suitable for aerial firefighting dropping 12 tonnes of water, and search and rescue operations for 50 passengers. Sources also note that the aircraft could also have strategic value in the South China Sea, which has been subject to various territorial disputes. Commentaries in China note that the aircraft was specifically designed to defend China’s interests in the South China Sea area.
The manufacturer has indicated that they expect export sales of the aircraft and that island countries, including New Zealand and Malaysia have expressed interest.