Above: screen grab from the BBC video showing (through dense smog) the AG600 taxiing after its first flight December 24, 2017.
China’s new amphibious aircraft that can scoop water and drop it on wildfires made its maiden flight December 24 at Jinwan Civil Aviation Airport in Zhuhai, Guangdong.
The AG600 can carry up to 3,000 gallons of water, and like the CL-215/415 and Air Tractors it can scoop water from a lake and drop it on wildfires. When not fighting fires it can hold 50 passengers in a military or civilian role and has a range of 5,500 km (3,418 miles). It has four turboprop engines, can handle a wave height of two meters, and will have a maximum speed of 354 mph (570 kph, 308 knots).
In 2015 The Coulson Group, operator of the two huge Martin Mars water-scooping aircraft, trained 14 test pilots from China who were expected to be the first to fly the AG600 (also known as the TA-600). The training included ground, water taxi, flight, scooping, and dropping water. The pilots went through classroom and hands on training using Coulson’s Hawaii Martin Mars aircraft, actually taxiing and flying the huge flying boat.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Micah.
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