World's largest aircraft to make debut this year

Beijing: China's amphibian aircraft, stated to be the world's largest, has successfully passed engine tests and is expected to make its maiden flight in the first half of this year.

The aircraft officially called AG600 rolled off a production line in the southern city of Zhuhai last July, and has since undergone a series of rigorous tests.

Between February 11 and 13, all four of its engines performed excellently in tests, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday quoting China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co.Ltd.

The 37-meter-long plane with a wingspan of 38.8 meters, is by far the world's largest amphibian aircraft, about the size of a Boeing 737, it said. It is meant to support emergency response efforts.

The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes and can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds.

It is the result of nearly seven years of work by a group of 70 aircraft component manufacturers and research teams with over 150 institutes from 20 provinces and municipalities in China, and over 90 per cent of the products used on the plane were made in China, the report said.

It has received 17 intent orders so far, it said.(PTI)