Chinese Pilot Wants To Form Aerobatic Team

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Wei Chen, a Chinese citizen and Memphis resident who flew around the world in his TBM700 and became the first Chinese "earthrounder," says he wants to start the first civilian aerobatic team in his home country. Thanks to the growing number of airshows in China in recent years, aerobatic performance is in booming demand. Several western and Chinese military teams flew during different events last year and wowed crowds of spectators. Last month Wei inked a letter of intent with the Xi'An provincial government's aviation arm to jointly form an aerobatic team. The aircraft of choice are Nanchang CJ-6s and Extra 300s. Wei told AVweb in an interview that he plans to enlist all Chinese GA pilots for the team and borrow western experience and safety standards for its operation. Also in the plan is the formation of a GA exhibition company. "My goal is the same as always. I want to promote GA and the passion for flying in China," Wei said.

His circumnavigation flight helped raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Ever since the successful completion of his flight, Wei has been attracting increasing media and public attention in China. He's been seen as a talk-show guest and in news interviews. Millions read about his story in newspapers and in aviation and lifestyle magazines. He is becoming the symbol of private flying in a country where general aviation is gaining momentum for growth.