China to slowly open up airspace to low altitude aircrafts
A pilot project program was authorized on the southern island of Hainan, allowing private helicopter flights as China slowly begins to open up its tightly controlled airspace. A Shanghai based Investment group took part in the initial two month test with four helicopters flown by eight pilots. The flight test will collect data for low altitude flying and testing the ground control system response to emergencies.
China airspace was under strict military control, limiting use of private and non commercial flights. Only last November that the State Council and the Central Military Commission allowed low altitude airspace to promote the general aviation sector, covering purchases and use of private planes and copters. General aviation is part of the aviation industry that doesn’t include flights for military, law enforcement and public transport.
Hainan was the first place in China to run the pilot program with private flights in low altitude airspace. A flight by a private aircraft still needs a flight plan approved by authorities which would take a few days to a week. Chinese millionaires are eagerly awaiting the possibility of China’s skies to be open for so long. Experts say that when this happens it would be a rapid growth in the private aviation sector. Even with a booming economy, China have limited helicopters and around 150 business jets.