Sonex Aircraft the kitplane maker is looking to introduce the homebuilt aircraft culture to mainland China. At the EAA AirVenture this week, Sonex Aircraft which is based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, announced that it had collaborated on a partnership with the Chinese firm Uniworld in order to promote its line of aircraft kits and AeroConversion product line in China. By adopting a multi-tier strategy consisting of immersion in the Chinese training infrastructure for GA pilots and technicians, governmental advocacy and fanning the flames of growth for its recreational aviation enthusiast base. Sonex has selected Beijing Aviation Technology (BAT) as a franchisee and named Uniworld’s Francis Chao as the director of Sonex operations in China.
Sonex general manager Mark Schaible admits that expanding business in China won’t be easy as it is a “complex place for Western companies to do business with aviation in China already presenting its own unique and complex challenges.” Beijing Aviation Technology (BAT) has established a new aviation education center which features Sonex and flight simulator manufacturer Precision Flight Controls in Beijing. This goal of this center is to educate the Chinese public, entrepreneurs and government officials about general aviation which includes a space for workshops, seminars, aircraft projects as well as provide living quarters and offices for all the international aviation professionals who wish to share their knowledge and experience with center visitors.
Sonex hopes to increase recreational aviation freedom allowing the construction of amateur built aircrafts by lobbying with the Chines Civil Aviation Authority. The plan is to use the FAA regulations as a working template in order to establish a dealer and support network throughout China. Schaible believes that in order for privatized general aviation to grow and succeed in China, a network of private A&P and flight schools must be established in order for the qualified personnel supporting general aviation to become owner/operator consumers of GA products in China. The current aviation landscape in China only supports training operations primarily for the airlines and military.
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