Officials with Sonex Aircraft announced on opening day of AirVenture that the Oshk0sh-based company has begun a new initiative to make kit aircraft building a part of the mainstream general aviation infrastructure in China.
Working with China GA trailblazer Francis Chao and his firm Uniworld, Sonex Aircraft is set to promote its products in China with a multi-part strategy that includes government advocacy, participation in the training infrastructure for GA pilots and mechanics, and growth of the Chinese recreational aviation enthusiast base.
Vetted and brokered with the help of Uniworld, Beijing Aviation Technology Company Limited (BAT) will become a franchisee of the Sonex and AeroConversions brands across China, and Chao has been selected by BAT as its director of Sonex operations in China.
“Sonex Aircraft has been working with Francis Chao and Uniworld since 2014 to broker sales in China and vet potential distributors, while keeping a finger on the pulse of GA developments in China,” said Sonex General
Manager Mark Schaible. “The approach and dedication of Francis is outstanding. He clearly has the right vision for GA in China, and the tenacity to make it happen.”
BAT has established a new Aviation Education Center in Beijing featuring Sonex Aircraft and flight simulator manufacturer Precision Flight Controls. The Education Center includes a workshop space for Sonex Aircraft
seminars and aircraft projects with the goal of educating the general public, entrepreneurs and government officials wishing to get involved in General Aviation in China.
The facility also features offices and living quarters for international aviation professionals coming to China to share their knowledge and experience with Education Center attendees. The Aviation Education Center is located in the city of Beijing to attract new people to aviation from a convenient, highly trafficked location. Getting them to a GA airport to discover aviation is eliminated from the equation with the Center’s metropolitan location, and participation by Precision Flight Controls offers a fun introductory experience for the
first-time visitor, Sonex officials noted.
Through the Aviation Education Center, Sonex Aircraft and Uniworld/BAT will be providing introductory experiences to potential recreational or career aviators interested in building and flying their own aircraft, and can provide more in-depth education and support to those who decide to purchase.
Interested entrepreneurs will also be welcomed at the Aviation Education Center as Sonex Aircraft and Uniworld/BAT work to establish a dealer and support network throughout China.
Education of government officials is also key in promoting further opening of GA freedoms in China, company officials noted. Sonex and Uniworld/BAT will be working with the Chinese CAAC aviation authority to bolster the opening of recreational aviation freedoms, including construction of Experimental Amateur-Built aircraft using current US regulations as a working template.
Additionally, Sonex Aircraft and Uniworld/BAT seeks to obtain approval in China for the use of kit aircraft in training operations.
“The current aviation infrastructure in China supports training operations primarily for the airlines and military only at the current time,” said Schaible. “This is true for both pilots and mechanics. In order for privatized GA to grow and succeed in China, a network of private A&P and flight schools must be established to train the qualified personnel required to support GA, and to become owner/operator consumers of GA products in China.”