China’s Heavy Airlifter Prototype Flies

China’s Y-20 military transport prototype flew this past weekend from its development base in central China, according to press reports. The strategic airlifter, which bears a striking likeness to Boeing’s C-17, took off on Jan. 26 from a base near the city of Xi’an, reported the Associated Press on Jan. 28 (via ABC News). AP cited Chinese state-run media. The Y-20 addresses China’s need for long-range, heavy-lift aerial transport to extend its global reach. Aging Russian IL-76 aircraft currently serve in this role. Russian turbofan engines will initially power the Y-20 until indigenously developed powerplants are available, according to AP. Xian Aircraft Industry designed the airlifter.