The largest aircraft manufacturer in China, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China develops the AS700 passenger airship to meet the growing demand for air travel.
According to Zhang Jinhua, chief designer of AVIC’s research division, engineers at the aircraft manufacturer have been designing the new aircraft since 2018. The first flight tests should begin in the second half of 2021.
The future airship with piston engines will be able to stay in the air for up to 10 hours and fly about 700 km. There is enough space on board for one pilot and nine passengers, as well as a kitchen, restroom and modern technology..
In addition to sightseeing air tours, such aircraft can be used for various research purposes, civil operations, cargo transportation and rescue operations. At the same time, the costs of their construction, operation and maintenance will be lower compared to airplanes and helicopters..
Experts have been saying for several years that airships will soon be able to replace cargo ships.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: China Daily