It is testament to how seriously the China market takes its fledgling general-aviation industry that key players from the China Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) took to the stage for one of the conference sessions here at the ABACE show yesterday.
Angela Guo, AOPA China’s executive director and deputy secretary general, said the organization has been relieving the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) of some pressures. For example, it has been overseeing medical examinations for private pilots. Currently only those employed by GA companies are entitled to have an annual CAAC medical.
The organization is also working on airworthiness issues for light sport aircraft. “We are working with the Experimental Aircraft Association in the U.S., and the CAAC is happy for us to assist them with creating a certification process,” said Guo. Although GA is generally perceived as being for the rich, Guo is keen to stress that AOPA is working with state schools to bring more young people into the industry and to prepare them for careers in aviation.
AOPA China board member Jason Zhang spoke about how different sectors of the corporate aviation industry can work together. “We will be speaking about the human element. It’s not just about the hardware. People are the most important resource we have,” he said.
Guo is an aviation industry veteran who sees a rosy future for the entire GA market in China, albeit with several hurdles to overcome. “Ten years ago I tried to arrange a demo business jet flight here and it was so difficult. Today, look at this show. In this time, in this market, everything’s possible,” she said.