(L-R) Randy Kenagy, AOPA; Guo Ming Wei, CAAC; Gary Workinger, FAA; Liu Song, CAAC; Gai Xi Hua, CAAC; Melissa Bailey, AOPA; Zhu Shu Yong, CAAC; Meng Ai Min, CAAC; Zhou Rong Kui, CAAC
Apr. 19, 2004 - Six representatives from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) visited AOPA recently to learn more about general aviation in the United States. The People's Republic of China is considering relaxing some of its airspace restrictions to allow its citizens easier access to GA.
"China faces a formidable challenge in expanding VFR flight," said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Melissa Bailey. "After spending the day with the delegation, we have a stronger appreciation of the freedoms we have as pilots in the United States. VFR flight in China is very limited, and the CAAC is studying America's robust general aviation community as an example."
One of the challenges facing the Chinese is VFR charting. They've already hosted a delegation from the FAA's National Charting Office to discuss the issue. Another challenge is radar and radio coverage. CAAC regulations require that all air traffic be controlled, but China does not have the equipment necessary to maintain low-altitude contact throughout the vast country.
According to published reports, the CAAC has set no timeline for expanding GA in China. The country currently is focusing resources on developing more high-altitude commercial air routes.