Aircraft

World's largest amphibious plane from China ready to sail and soar

The AG600 is aimed mostly for the domestic market
The AG600 is aimed mostly for the domestic market
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The AG600 is aimed mostly for the domestic market
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The AG600 is aimed mostly for the domestic market

China has just taken the wraps off the world's largest amphibious plane to enter service. Made by the state's aircraft maker, the AG600 is around the size of a Boeing 737 and will be used to douse forest fires and rescue people in danger offshore.

Measuring 37 m (121 ft) long with a wingspan of 38.8 m (127 ft), the gargantuan amphibious aircraft is capable of taking off and landing both on terra firma and stretches of water, provided they are more than 1,500 m long, 200 m wide and 2.5 m deep (0.93 mi, 656 ft and 8.2 ft).

It has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes (59 tons), a top cruising speed of 500 km/h (310.7 mph) and a range of 4,500 km (2,800 mi), and can fly for 12 hours at a time, according to its builder, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

Around seven years in the making, the AG600 can collect and save up to 50 people from the ocean at once, but its applications may extend beyond search and rescue scenarios. The Xinhua news agency reports that it is also capable of carrying out environmental monitoring in marine settings, along with the detection and transportation of resources.

"The AG600 is like a ship that can fly, with advanced gas-water dynamic engineering and underwater corrosion resistance technology," says Huang Lingcai, chief designer of the plane, as reported by Xinhua.

AVIC says that the AG600 is aimed mostly at the domestic market, with 17 orders placed for the giant plane so far. Its unveiling follows the completed production of China's first large passenger aircraft, the C919, in November last year, and the Chinese heavy military transport plane, the Y-20, which entered service on July 7.

AVIC deputy general manager Geng Ruguang labeled the AG600's completion as "the latest breakthrough in China's aviation industry, which demonstrates an overall improvement of China's national strength and research capacity."

You can check out the plane in the video below.

Source: Xinhua

China unveils world’s largest amphibious aircraft AG600

20 comments
NK
And the Spruce Goose is tiny by comparison? I think not.
Nik
"China has just taken the wraps off the world's largest amphibious plane. " Not quite, the 'Spruce Goose' H-4 is considerably larger, but no longer flying. Although the H-4 was strictly a seaplane, not amphibious, it may be of interest as a comparison. General characteristics Crew: three Length: 218 ft 8 in (66.65 m) Wingspan: 320 ft 11 in (97.54 m) Height: 79 ft 4 in (24.18 m) Fuselage height: 30 ft (9.1 m) Empty weight: 250,000 lb (113,399 kg) Loaded weight: 400,000 lb (180,000 kg) Powerplant: 8 × Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial engines, 3,000 hp (2,640 kW) each Propellers: four-bladed Hamilton Standard, prop, one per engine Propeller diameter: 17 ft 2 in (5.23 m) Performance Cruise speed: 250 mph (407.98 km/h) Range: 3,000 mi (4,800 km) Service ceiling: 20,900 ft (6,370 m) More details here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hughes_H-4_Hercules
CliffG
"Forest fires and rescue?" Maybe instead to provide a supply link to their illegal islands until the airfields are completed.
gizmowiz
I bet it would have trouble landing in the lakes in Alaska!
MichaelSchell
The Martin Mars is larger with about an 80 max take off weight and larger winspan.
PCPilot
Someone should tell the Chinese that this plane would be of enormous help with their building of airstrips and military outposts on the remote islands in the South China Sea, especially those near the Philippines, Indonesia or Vietnam...
jerryd
7 yrs to build a 50 yr old Soviet plane is just sad. China still can't even make a decent jet engine even with all the design data for all of ours! And with their quality, I certainly wouldn't want to fly in it.
Nostromo47
There aren't many examples of large amphibious airplanes being made these days anymore. You have to go back to the 1930's and 1940's when large planes such as these were being built to fly long range commercial routs. The question of why China is building this plane was revealed in the video. The development of this aircraft seems to be a part of China's strategic aims to extend it influence in the South China Sea. The "artificial islands" referred to are evidently those being built in disputed Philippine and Vietnamese waters.
WesRegian
No, the Spruce Goose was and is larger.
Username
The h-4 Hercules (spruce goose) is considerably larger than this "world largest"