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Breakthrough in light aircraft
source: China Daily
The first amphibious light sports aircraft wholly designed and manufactured in China successfully made its maiden voyage on Tuesday on Shanghai's Dishui Lake, and its designer said mass production and delivery of the aircraft were likely next year, pending regulatory approval.
The all-composite, two-seat aircraft Feng Ling is the result of eight years of research and development and more than 50 million yuan ($7.53 million) of investment by Shanghai Oxai Aircraft, said Mao Yiqing, the company's president.

Unlike many Chinese aircraft makers who acquired old-fashioned aircraft models from overseas companies to save the time spent on R&D, Oxai Aircraft decided to conduct its own research and development.

"I have been fond of aircraft ever since I was young, and it was my dream to design an aircraft," said Mao.

The development of Feng Ling is in line with the national strategy of developing the general aviation sector into a 1-trillion-yuan market, said Chen Jie, an official from Shanghai Lingang Area Development Administration.

Lu Ling, an official from the Shanghai Administration of Sports, said there are 220,000 aircraft, 630,000 pilots, and 15,000 airports serving general aviation in the United States, while China has just 2,000 aircraft, 21,000 pilots and 91 airports.

According to Mao, Oxai Aircraft has so far received 75 orders from global clients, with a value of nearly 200 million yuan, from nations including the United States, Australia, Finland and Canada.

The aircraft was designed and developed in accordance with the standards of the US Federal Aviation Administration and it can be widely used in flight training, observation work and recreational flying, Mao added.

The company plans to expand its annual manufacturing capacity from 15 to 50 by adding another production line. "Once we have mass production of the aircraft, we will start research and development for a five-seat model amphibious light sports aircraft," added Mao.