'World's largest' and China's first indigenous amphibious aircraft makes maiden flight

24 Dec 2017

China`s first indigenous amphibious aircraft, believed to be the world`s largest, completed its maiden flight on Sunday, taking off from Zhuhai, the coastal city off the disputed South China Sea. China is engaged in the military build-up and the successful flight by the aircraft will add to Beijing`s might as it grows assertive in its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The aircraft AG600, code-named "Kunlong", successfully soared into the sky from the Jinwan Civil Aviation Airport. The flight lasted about one hour. Zhuhai is a port in Guangdong province. "Its successful maiden flight makes China among the world`s few countries capable of developing a large amphibious aircraft," Xinhua news agency quoted Huang Lingcai, chief designer of AG600, as saying.
The aircraft, powered by four domestically-built turboprop engines, has a 39.6-metre-long fuselage and a 38.8-metre wingspan, said its developer, the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). According to the AVIC source, the amphibious aircraft, with a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes and a top cruising speed of 500 km per hour, can fly for 12 hours at a time.