First China-Made Amphibious Plane AG600 Takes Maiden Flight

By Prei Dy, | May 01, 2017

China's first homegrown amphibious plane AG600 took its maiden flight. (YouTube)

China's first homegrown amphibious plane AG600 took its maiden flight. (YouTube)

China's homegrown amphibious aircraft AG600 took its maiden flight ahead of its schedule on Saturday from the southern city of Zhuhai.

The AG600, dubbed as the world's largest amphibious aircraft, was initially reported to take its maiden flight in late May. The ground test was conducted, and during taxiing, the aircraft's braking system was evaluated and its ability to stay in a straight line was retested.

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A footage showed the AG600 making a 180-degree turn on the runway, and all its systems were reportedly functioning properly, according to Sputnik News.


The seaplane was designed to put out forest fires and conduct rescue sea missions as well as "monitor and protect the ocean," Xinhua News reported. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 tons, a flight range of 4,500 kilometers, can collect 12 tons of water in merely 20 seconds, an could rescue up to 50 people far offshore.

Chief designer Huang Lingcai has earlier compared the AG600 to a flying ship "with advanced gas-water dynamic engineering and underwater corrosion resistance technology." He described the AG600 as China's breakthrough in the aviation industry, showing overall progress in national strength and research capacity.

The AG600 is made by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft, a subsidiary of state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, and spent nearly eight years developing the seaplane. It is 37 meters long and has a wingspan of 38.8 meters, which is nearly the size of Boeing 737.

The AVIC AG600 is China's counterpart to Russia's Berieve Be-200, which is also known for its firefighting abilities and maritime rescue and patrol operations. Xinhua reported last February that the AG600 has so far received 17 interests but it did not divulged any specific details.

Meanwhile, the maiden flight comes amid China's growing assertiveness to its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, where it has been building airfields and deploying military equipment. The country has been upgrading its military, ranging from testing anti-satellite missiles to creating stealth fighters and even its first indigenous aircraft carrier.

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