Chinese major homemade aircraft conducts test flights despite epidemic

Major Chinese home-grown aircraft, including the C919 large passenger jet, AG600 large amphibious aircraft and Y-20 large transport aircraft, have managed to conduct test flights and operations despite the novel coronavirus epidemic.

On March 5, the No. 105 C919 aircraft began its first test flight this year at Nanchang Yaohu Airport in east China’s Jiangxi province. Before that, the C919 trunk airliner had taxied on the airport’s wetland runway.

Six C919 jets are conducting test flights in Shanghai, Yanliang, Dongying and Nanchang, according to the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), its manufacturer.

COMAC has resumed work and production in an orderly manner while strongly implementing prevention and control measures amid the epidemic.

Data shows that 1,015 orders for the jet had already been received from 29 customers by the end of June 2018.

Meanwhile, China’s independently developed AG600 large amphibious aircraft, which will be mainly used for maritime rescue and forest fire fighting, is expected to make its maiden flight from sea this year.

To mitigate the impact of the virus outbreak on these tasks, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. and its Zhuhai base in south China’s Guangdong province decided to organize a guarantee team to conduct related work in Jingmen, central China’s Hubei province, where the amphibious aircraft made its maiden flight from water.

On March 12, a team of 15 key staff arrived in Jingmen, and will spare no efforts in preparing for the AG600’s maiden flight from water.

The country’s domestically developed Y-20 large transport aircraft have played a vital role in the fight against the epidemic in Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak.

On Feb. 13 and 17, the Y-20 transport aircraft of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force sent a large number of medics and supplies to the city. The Y-20 has made 10 flights, the first time that this large strategic airlifter has participated in non-combat operations, said Zhang Tianxiang, an official with the Central Military Commission at a recent press conference.

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