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Dreams Soar at Shaanxi Flying Club

China's initial private flying club has gotten over 100 applications from potential professional pilots and well-off citizens, hoping to purchase their own aircraft, the club's officials announced on Dec. 18. In November, 11 trainees passed the Xi'an Zhongfei Flight Club's State flight examination and got their private flying licenses, deputy general manager Li Zhi noted. "We trained them at the club for 10 months, and now all of them have been employed in various airlines across the country," he explained. Currently, around 16,000 citizens in China have private flying licenses.  Student Wang Chao's 10-month instruction at the club cost 140,000 yuan ($20,000). Anybody between the ages of 16 and 60 with eyesight of 1.0 or higher who does not have hearing problems, heart troubles, or high blood pressure can enroll at the club, Li stated. "Aspiring pilots are eligible for flying licenses after 40 hours of theoretical training and 40 hours of practical flying time, after which they must pass the examinations held by China's General Administration of Civil Aviation," he added. The flying club was established in 1959, and is the only flight test institution in China for national-level evaluation of military and civil airplanes. The amount of aircraft held by businesses and individuals in China has risen by 10 percent a year, according to official figures.  In addition, during the coming decade, there will be a demand for over 1,000 private planes in the market.

December 19, 2008

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