Rapid transition from glow discharge to thermal arc has been a common problem in generating stable high-power non-thermal plasmas especially at ambient conditions. A sustained diffusive gliding arc discharge was generated in a large volume in atmospheric pressure air, driven by an alternating current (AC) power source. The plasma column extended beyond the water-cooled stainless steel electrodes and was stabilized by matching the flow speed of the turbulent air jet with the rated output power. Comprehensive investigations were performed using high-speed movies measured over the plasma column, synchronized with simultaneously recorded current and voltage waveforms. Dynamic details of the novel non-equilibrium discharge are revealed, which is characterized by a sinusoidal current waveform with amplitude stabilized at around 200 mA intermediate between thermal arc and glow discharge, shedding light to the governing mechanism of the sustained spark-suppressed AC gliding arc discharge. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.