AVweb's China Coverage This Week

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While pilots and aviation enthusiasts in the U.S. have annual conclaves like AirVenture and Sun ‘N Fun to sustain their passions, China’s emerging aviation industry has no equivalent.  But that may be changing with Thursday’s launch of the China International General Aviation Convention (CIGAC), sponsored by the district of Shaanxi in the central Chinese city of Xi’an.  Best known for its ancient terra cotta soldiers, Xi’an is becoming China’s aeronautical hub, with a major airport and a growing manufacturing district. The 2013 show is the third annual event at this location.

The roster of exhibitors is substantial, and reflects China’s ambition to become a significant player on the world aeronautical stage. Beechcraft and Cessna are listed, along with Chinese-owned Cirrus and recently acquired Mooney. Significantly, a major portion of CIGAC will be devoted to the Chinese Air Training Congress, and numerous Asian and Pacific flight academies will be in attendance. Aerobatic performers from Poland, Romania and Sweden are expected to fuel a curiosity for aviation among the general Chinese population. Full implementation of personal flight in China awaits lifting of airspace restrictions, easier flight planning, adequate fuel delivery and storage, more complete GPS route structures and satellite-based precision approaches to China's growing list of new airports.

The show comes amid an ongoing Chinese acquisitions boom, which is seeing brands and technologies in the U.S and in Europe now operating under a Chinese banner. The Chinese government-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) led the aviation wave with the acquisition of Cirrus in 2011, and more recently Continental Motors and the former Thielert Aircraft Engines, a German company that put aircraft diesels on the map.

AVweb will be reporting from the show grounds. Watch for updates in upcoming editions this week.