China is making history by being the first country that sets the largest amphibious aircraft into flight. Chinese officials have all the last-minute preparations happening in the city of Zhuhai, which can be found in the Guangdong province in Southern China.
The aircraft, an AG-600, is due for its test flight any day now. China Aviation Industry General Aircraft has been working on the amphibious plane project since September of 2009, trying to fill the amphibious plane gap that China has had for the last few decades. There was a brief stretch of time where the Chinese Navy had a few amphibious planes, but the fleet was quickly withdrawn. The company building the new planes has already reported seventeen orders from various local and government organizations.
As far as statistics go, the AG-600 stacks up well against its other, non-amphibious, counterparts. Its roughly the same size as a Boeing Aircraft 737 with a working range of 4,500 kilometers. The AG-600’s size means it is easily bigger than Japan and Russia’s sea-to-air planes.
The planes will be used in water search and rescue missions, helping to put out forest fires, and transportation of goods and people between nearby islands. The planes impressive gas mileage means it can make it from Sanya, across the ocean, to James Shoal, and back, without stopping to fill up. That’s about a six-hour plane ride both ways, with no need to grab new provisions.
The plane itself seats around fifty people and can fill up on water for fire missions in just twenty seconds flat. Everyone is eagerly waiting to see how the AG-600 performs once it finally hits the water.
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