China's large amphibious aircraft AG600 took and off, flew and landed back to successfully mark its first water-based test flight Saturday at a lake in Jingmen, Central China's Hubei Province.
State owned media, Global Times reported that the aircraft lifted off from the water of Jingmen's Zhanghe Reservoir at 8:51 am, and landed back on to water at 9:05 am, quoting a statement its manufacturer Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) today.
Huang Lingcai, chief designer of the AG600, was quoted by Global Times as saying, "the density of water is about 800 times the density of air, but the aircraft has to reach the same speed to take off on land and water, so the drag reduction function must be well-designed."
The AG600 is capable of taking off and landing on water with waves as tall as two meters, he said.
Codenamed "Kunlong" and designed to be the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600 will be mainly used for maritime rescue, fighting forest fires and marine monitoring.
The AG600 can reach further distances and travel faster than helicopters and other vessels, and is capable of covering more than 4,000 kilometers in a rescue mission. It can also carry 50 survivors or payloads of the same weight.
Western analysts expect the aircraft to be used in extending control of China’s claim over the South China Sea; moving men and military material at short notice in areas without an airfield.