Earlier I wrote that while China’s presence here this year is less evident (partly due to visa and shipping problems), there is indeed very interesting activity going on.
Tucked away in Hall A is Henan Dayu International Flight Club, which is located in the Shangjie District of Zhengzhou, in Henan Province, about 400 miles south-southwest of Beijing.
Dayu’s CEO Feng Jie brought a group of employees with him on a fact-finding mission, to see U.S. aviation through the eyes of AirVenture. Before arriving, he stopped in Canada to evaluate general aviation in that country.
While here, he’s sharing the booth with Zhengzhou’s International and Aircraft Exhibition Center, which plans to become a hub for sport and general aviation and business jet sales.
Zhengzhou was approved last year as the nation's first air economic zone by China’s national government.
Henan Dayu was set up in 2009 and is developing step-by-step from a club to a company that owns general aviation ground service activities and a general aviation business. It claims hundreds of members and dozens of aircraft, including fighter jets thanks to membership by the air detachment of the Henan ground force reserve.
Jingwen Gong flies one of those aircraft—a Robinson R44. She explained at the booth that she has 150 hours on helicopters, progressing to the four-seater from the R22. Now she pilots tourists on sightseeing trips around Zhengzhou.
“I’m not sure it was a very good decision for a girl to become a helicopter pilot, but I love it,” she says.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, China signed a deal with EAA that should result in setting up the first EAA Chapter in that country.
EAA chairman Jack Pelton and CAIGA chief vice president Qinggou Song believe the collaboration could lead to further chapters in the future. CAIGA is the general aviation subsidiary of China’s AVIC national aircraft company. It already builds Cirrus aircraft in Zhuhai, China, and has just flown its Epic-based business turboprop aircraft, the Primus 150, powered by a GE H85 turboprop.