China's independently-developed large amphibious aircraft, the AG600, has completed trial ground flights and entered a new test phase on the water-surface.
The AG600, codenamed "Kunlong," successfully finished a trial flight from an airport in the city of Zhuhai, south China's Guangdong Province, to an airport in Jingmen, a city in central China's Hubei Province, on Sunday, according to China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd.
The company said that it marked the start of a new journey for AG600 -- a test phase on the water. The aircraft passed a series of tests since its maiden flight last December. Next, it will conduct tests and trial flights on the water, in Jingmen.
The technical tests and flight tests will be mainly conducted on the surface of the Zhanghe Reservoir in Jingmen. Endowed with unique geographical and water conditions, the Zhanghe Reservoir is also called the "cradle of China's water planes." It is home to the country's only air harbor.
It has been long selected to conduct water-surface tests of multiple Chinese aircraft models, including the country's first maritime bomber SH-5 and first amphibious aircraft Seagull 300.
Designed to be the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600 is powered by four domestically built turboprop engines and has a range of 12 hours, according to Huang Lingcai, chief designer of AG600.
It will be mainly used for maritime rescue, fighting forest fires and marine monitoring.
POWERFUL "DRAGON" ON WATER
Its name "Kunlong" represents high expectation in Chinese culture, with the "kun" meaning an enormous legendary fish and "long" a dragon.
The AG600 can carry 50 people during search-and-rescue missions, collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds for firefighting and transport up to 370 tonnes of water on a single tank of fuel.
The aircraft is designed to have a range of 12 hours and an operational range up to 4,500 kilometers. It is also capable of takeoff and landing in 2-meter waves.
"That means AG600 can land on and take off from water in China's islands in the South China Sea, which are well within range," Huang said.
As the "youngest" one of China's large aircraft family, AG600 conducted its maiden flight on Dec.24, 2017 at Zhuhai Jinwan Airport.
China's large aircraft family includes the Y-20 large transport aircraft, C919 large passenger aircraft and AG600 large amphibious aircraft.