China-developed AS700 civil manned airship makes first ferry flight

(Xinhua) 15:06, April 01, 2024

WUHAN, April 1 (Xinhua) -- China's independently-developed AS700 civil manned airship has made a successful maiden ferry flight in central China's Hubei Province, and the first air vehicle is scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year.

During the flight, the airship took off from Jingmen Zhanghe Airport and landed at an airport in Jingzhou after a flight lasting one hour and 46 minutes, according to the developer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

"The performance went very smoothly according to the plan. The airship proved sound maneuverability," said Lin Hong, pilot of the ferry flight, adding that the AS700 has the ability to take off and land vertically in a narrow field, and more mobile and flexible than other types of airships.

Zhou Lei, chief designer of the airship project said that the flight fully verified the AS700's flight communication, facility loading as well as take-off and landing capabilities, laying the foundation for subsequent longer distance and longer endurance flights.

Since the AS700 obtained the type certificate in China last year, the company has received intent orders for 18 units of the airship. The customers are mainly related with low-altitude sightseeing tourism sector.

The airship's development team has planned upgrading to further expand the application scenario to emergency rescue, urban public services and other fields.

The single-capsule manned airship has a maximum capacity carrying 10 persons, including a pilot. It has a maximum take-off weight of 4,150 kg, a maximum flight range of 700 km, and a maximum endurance of 10 hours. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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