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China's First-Ever GA Fly-In Postponed
September 2, 2011
It was planned as a first-of-its-kind event in China, where general aviation is just now beginning to catch on. The AOPA-China Fly-In was scheduled for September 22-24 to coincide with the country’s first-ever AOPA Summit.
But, last month, an Agusta-Westland AW139 helicopter operated by the Beijing Police Department crashed into the MiYun Reservoir northeast of the Chinese capital. Four of the five people on board were killed. It was considered a terrible blow to the department’s aviation unit, which had just been formed a month earlier.
“Amid the impact of the police helicopter crash, AOPA China and its partner of the event, Reignwood Star General Aviation, decided to postpone this year’s Fly –In,” AOPA-China board member Yinjie Jason Zhang said in a statement to NBAA.
The fly-in was to have been restricted to privately-owned helicopters, Zhang said, because the facilities of the host airport northeast of Beijing were limited. More than 20 helicopters from around China were to take part in the fly-in, then gaggle from the host airport to another one, closer to the capital. The aircraft were to conduct sightseeing tours of the MiYun Reservoir as part of the fly-in.
“The recent accident draws attention and safety concerns from the public and the authorities. The ongoing investigation also puts the accessibility of the affected airspace in question,” Zhang stated.
He pointed out that the AOPA Summit, scheduled to take place in Beijing before the fly-in, will take place as scheduled.