China's general aviation operator Flying Dragon has taken delivery of its first two Beriev Be-103 six-seat, piston-powered amphibians at Sukhoi's KnAAPO plant. The aircraft will be ferried to Harbin via Khabarovsk and Blagoveshensk. The Be-103s are part of a 25-aircraft deal under which Be-103s will be provided to various Chinese operators, mostly based in Harbin and Guanzhou.

Flying Dragon will receive three more aircraft in December. KnAAPO has 35 Be-103s in final assembly and flight test, 10 of which are undergoing pre-delivery flight trials. KnAAPO has also delivered three Be-103s to the USA and in 2007 will deliver further aircraft to Brazil and Cyprus.

Sales in Russia have been limited to just three production Be-103s, mainly because of a lack of high-octane petrol for the US-made Teledyne Continental IO-360ES4 piston engines and relatively high sticker price of $1.4 million.

Based on the Be-103 design, KnAAPO is developing the SA-20P single-engine version of the Be-103 powered by Russian Voronezh Motor Plant M-9F engines developing 420hp (313kW) and running on automobile petrol.

Source: Flight International