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China’s Xian Y-20 Takes Off on First Flight

The highly anticipated first flight of China’s new Y-20 four-engined heavy cargo jet completed successfully on Sunday, January 27, 2013.

The Y-20 (Yun-20 or Transport-20) is the culmination of China’s long quest to domestically manufacture a large “strategic airlifter”. A product of the Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, only two prototypes of the 100,000 kg (220,400 lb), 50 meter wingspan jet have been produced to date. The plane is powered by four Russian-built Soloviev D-30KP-2 engines. Regular production Y-20 jets will carry Chinese-built WS-20 turbofan engines instead.

Since December of 2012 the Y-20 has been conducting ground-based testing including runway taxi tests. Operated by a crew of three, the Y-20 is designed to carry up to 60 tons of cargo up to 4,400 km (2,734 miles) at a cruise speed of Mach 0.75 and with a service ceiling of 13,000 meters (42,700 ft).

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