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​AG600 to fly from water in second half of 2018

The AVIC AG600 amphibian has conducted three successful test flights from land, and is gearing up for flight tests from the water.

Following its maiden flight on 24 December 2017, the four-engine turboprop conducted two subsequent flights on 24 January and 26 January, says AVIC.

Both flights took place from Zhuhai airport, near the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) hall where the aircraft was manufactured.

"The two flights in 2018 mainly carried out test flight tests on aircraft performance," says AVIC. "The functions of the aircraft systems were normal and the flight test subjects were completed."

After more flight tests in Zhuhai, the aircraft will transit to Jingmen in central China, where preparatory work will take place prior to water tests. This will include tests to ensure the aircraft's fuselage is watertight, as well as low, medium, and high speed taxi tests.

The first water test is due in the second half of 2018.

In 2016, official state news organisation China Daily reported that the AVIC Airpark located in the province includes Zhanghe airport. It is located next to Zhanghe Reservoir, which has an area designated for use by amphibious aircraft.

The maximum take-off weight of the AG600 is 53.5t, making it the world's largest amphibian aircraft, even bigger than the Shinmaywa US-2 at 43t.

The AG600 will undertake a range of missions, and its target market is domestic parapublic organizations. Its main functions are search and rescue and transport.

The aircraft can also serve as a water bomber, with a large tank located under the forward half of the aircraft.

CAIGA says there are 17 orders for the type, all from domestic customers.

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