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A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHINESE AVIATION INDUSTRY AND AIRCRAFT DEVELOPMENT

The history of Chinese aviation and aircraft industry began when the first trial flight of China’s first plane was successfully launched by Mr.Feng Ru, who was an overseas Chinese living in the USA.

However, China did not set up its aviation industry until 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded. It was only after the People’s Republic of China was established that the communist party and the people’s government gave the establishment of a strong aviation industry top priority.

The world situation at that time and the country’s need for defense aircraft prompted the new Chinese government to set up an Aviation Industry Bureau. The bureau was set up under the Heavy Industry Ministry in Shenyang, Liaoning province; under Mr. Duan Zijun in the 17th of April 1951.It was given the mandate of making preparations for the establishment of the aircraft manufacture industry.

The Bureau started its work of developing the aviation industry by repairing, remodeling, imitating, and subsequently designing its own planes. On the 25th of July, 1954, the first plane was developed by Nanchang Aircraft Industry Company. The plane was named Yak-18 CJ-5 and it passed the state appraisal. Another aircraft manufacturing company known as Shenyang Aircraft industry developed the first jet fighter in China’s aviation history, on the 8th of September, 1956. The plane was known as J-5(Mig17) fighter. The company got the approval to manufacture these jet fighters in batches. The first self-developed aircraft made a successful test flight in July 1958 in Shenyang, Liaoning province. The plane was known as JJ-1 Trainer.

Nanchang Chinese Aircraft

Chairman Mao Zedong and the premier, Zhou Enlai, were very much concerned with the development of the aviation industry in China. They were also closely associated, at a personal level, in its development. The premier himself developed the guiding principle for the development of the aircraft industry. The principle was:’’ from repair to copy production, and then from copy production to designing and production’’. This guiding principle proved to be very successful. It success came from combining scientific methodologies with the revolutionary spirit which prevailed in those years, learning foreign technology, and self reliance. This guiding principle has been credited for the tremendous growth of the aviation industry in china.

At the time the Republic of China was setting up its aviation industry, It was facing major difficulties both internally and externally. The Korean War was going on and the country was facing a difficult financial situation. Under these difficult circumstances, the government and the People’s party made a resolution to concentrate its financial resources and manpower in developing the aviation industry. The government therefore took the following steps in order to achieve its goals:

-To train technical personnel specifically for the aviation industry.

– To make use of domestic materials in the development of the aviation industry.

To ensure the success of the aviation industry, the State Economic Commission went out of its way to coordinate and organize support to the industry by other basic industries.

After the exit of the Soviet Union in the 1960s, the government took special measures to deal with the problem of domestic materials supply. These measures and policies were taken by the Central Committee of the people’s Party and the State council. The success of these measures contributed greatly to the fast development of the aviation industry in China. The industry started to produce batches of aircraft for the Air Force and the Navy as well as equipping the Chinese airlines.

By the end of the Cold War, China’s aviation industry had become of age after more than 30 years of unrelenting efforts. This fast development was especially witnessed after the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The policies which were adapted in this seating were meant to bring order out of the existing chaos at that particular time, reforms, rectification, and opening the country to the outside world.

In the 21st Century, the Chinese aviation industry has now become an industrial system with a more solid foundation and with an almost complete range of categories. China’s economy is growing tremendously and the state and its citizen have greater need for civil aircraft. The government has been emphasizing the development of civil aircraft and it has put in place positive policy measures. There are high expectations that China’s aviation industry will very soon produce good civil aircraft to serve its Socialist modernization construction as well as its international exchanges. The aviation industry is also involved in developing military aircraft.

The History of Chinese aviation and aircraft industry has not been smooth all through . However, the industry is set to rise higher and higher if the current trends are going to be sustained.

Chinese Flight Training

In the last decade, the autocratic nature of the ‘father-son’ style flight training has started to be kicked out of Chinese Aviation academies. Friendlier flying institutions modelled on British flying schools like Cloudbase Aviation (theflyingschool.co.uk) have now started to become prevelant in urban areas of China and the far-east.

More traditional aircraft like the heavy and costly Namchang pictured above are also being replaced by lighter aircraft that are cheaper to run. They are even offering lessons in microlights at many schools!

http://www.theflyingschool.co.ukXin Chouzou is an instructor in the Eastern region of China who runs a local flying school. He is a self-proclaimed microlight maniac!