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Unmanned biplane freighter takes flight in China

A Chinese research institute has conducted a test flight of what it claims Is the world’s largest unmanned transport aircraft.

The aircraft used for the test was a modified Shifei Y-5B biplane, according to official news portal China Daily.

Designated the Feihong-98 (FH-98), the aircraft modified by the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology, an institute under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

The flight test occurred on Tuesday 16 October in Inner Mongolia. The report features a video of the aircraft taking off, with the FH-98 designation on its side.

The Y-5B is based on the widely produced Antonov AN-2, which first flew in 1947.

The report quotes an institute official as saying that the aircraft is easy to operate, and has a maximum takeoff weight of 5.25t, with a maximum capacity of 1.5t. It can take off in 150m, making it suitable for logistics support in areas with challenging terrain. The aircraft’s range is 1,200km.

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