SHIJIAZHUANG, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese manufacturer of the Seagull 300, China's first independently developed amphibious plane, said it has received more than 50 tentative orders for the aircraft, which started test flights Thursday.
Xia Zhongmin, vice general manager of the Shijiazhuang Aircraft Industry Co. Ltd. headquartered in north China's Hebei Province, said the first Seagull 300 that rolled off the production line on Wednesday was priced at over 4 million yuan (590,000 U.S. dollars).
"Many customers have contacted us while the aircraft was being designed and manufactured. And then we received these tentative orders as soon as the plane got off the production line," he said.
He said some customers are awaiting the results of the test flights before formally placing orders.
The plane, capable of carrying 4-6 passengers, needs a stretch of water or runway at least 600 meters in length to take off from.
Xiong Xianpeng, an official in charge of the design of the plane, said the Seagull 300 is very adaptable, and can take off on a variety of land surfaces including grass, asphaltum and cement.
The plane can be used for business flights, freight transport, medical aid and tourism, he said.
The plane is scheduled to make a maiden long-distance flight to south China's Zhuhai City later this month, and take part in the 2010 Zhuhai Air Show in November.