The world’s biggest amphibious plane, and this week it effectively finished its maiden flight following eight years being developed.
Made by the state-claimed Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the AG600 has a wingspan of 38.8 meters (127 feet), making it somewhat bigger than an Airbus A320 — the aircraft Captain Sullenberger arrived in the river off Manhattan in 2009. The new plane is controlled by four turboprop engines, has a most extreme departure weight of 107,000 pounds (53.5 tons), and can convey up to 50 individuals.
Ready to remain in the air for up to 12 hours and fly 2,800 miles, the aircraft’s first ever flight left from Zhuhai Jinwan air terminal in China’s southern region of Guangdong, around 50 miles west of Hong Kong. The airplane terminal is by the ocean. Footage of the AG600’s hour-long maiden flight demonstrates it flying over water yet not really arriving on it. Or on the other hand taking off from it. An oceanic departure and landing is set for 2018.
What can the AG600 be used for?
The plane can be kitted out for firefighting exercises and marine rescue duties. Military applications are likewise conceivable, and with state media depicting the AG600 as a “protector spirit of the ocean, islands and reefs,” there is speculation it could sooner or later be utilized as a part of operations in the debated South China Sea area.
China is investing intensely in building up its own particular aviation based engineering industry, and the enormous amphibious plane, whose first flight was communicated live on national TV, is viewed as a lift to its long haul aspirations in that field.
While China’s new amphibious plane is the biggest of its kind underway, it’s not the biggest water-based plane to have at any point flown by far. That award goes to Howard Hughes’ H-4 Hercules, otherwise called the Spruce Goose, which had a wingspan of 97.2 meters (319 feet) — over two times longer than the AG600 — and weighed 400,000 pounds (200 tons), about four times that of the AG600.
Planned to transport troops and payload amid World War II, working at building the plane began in 1942. However, when it was finished in 1946, the war was at that point over.
At last, the Spruce Goose just influenced one short flight to demonstrate its reasonability. It occurred in 1947 and endured under 60 seconds. The aircraft is currently in plain view at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville in Oregon.
Image via bbc