China has successfully conducted the trial flight of its first polar fixed-wing aircraft. The “Xueying”, or Snow Eagle in English, conducted the test Monday.
The scientists tested the flight characteristics of the fixed-wing aircraft, including the ice radar, the gravimeter and magnetometer, under the climatic conditions of Antarctica.
The “Xueying” took off on Nov. 15 from Canada. Eight Days later, it arrived at the British research station “Rothera”.
On Nov. 26, the “Xueying”arrived at the South Pole. Carrying three crew members, the aircraft finally arrived at Chinese research station “Zhongshan” Monday, after a journey of seven hours and 46 minutes from the South Pole.
The research station Zhongshan serves as a base for testing. The first mission of“Xueying” includes flights to another two Chinese research stations “Kunlun” and”Taishan” and for the Australian Station “Casey”. It will also complete the scientific study of the Princess Elizabeth Land near the “Taishan” station.
Fixed-wing aircraft are designed for fast transport and emergency rescue. They are therefore eminently suitable for research purposes. So far, only the U.S., Germany and U.K. have multi-functional fixed-wing aircraft in Antarctica.
This story compiled information from Xinhua and People’s Daily.