China’s AG600, world’s largest amphibious aircraft “flying boat” that is equal in size to the gigantic Boeing 737 completed its first maiden water take-off and landing on Saturday.
Spanning a wing size of 38.8 meters, a length of 36.9 meters and a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tons, the Chinese amphibious aircraft AG600 is world’s largest plane that is capable of functioning on both water and air. The AG600 is said to be the largest amphibious aircraft currently in operation with a capacity to fly 50 passengers on board and can take in some 12 tons of water in just 20 seconds. The size of the aircraft is almost equivalent to the Boeing 737, and it definitely surpasses the dimensions of the Russian Beriev Be-200 and Japanese ShinMaywa US-2 flying boats.
The humongous flying boat is developed by the Chinese to use for maritime rescue, long-range transport and firefighting operations. On Saturday, the AG600 successfully completed its first outside the city of Jingmen in central Chinawater take-off and landing. During the test session, the amphibious aircraft took off the water surface, flew, landed on water and somewhat gracefully rolled ashore to complete the maiden water take-off and landing test by world’s largest such aircraft currently in operation.
However, the largest-ever flying boat title is held by the WWII-era US-made behemoth Hughes H-4 Hercules that boasts a wingspan of 100 meters and length of 67 meters, weighing 180 tons at take-off. It was also entirely made of birch recurring to the metal shortage during WWII, due to which, it was popularly known as the “Spruce Goose”. But the manufacturing of the monstrous flying boat was made too late to be actually included in the war and practically never took off or made it to serial production.