|Cessna Aircraft anticipates that a new Chinese factory for general aviation aircraft will be ready toward the end of next year.
Construction of the factory has already started, says Cessna’s director of China operations, Michael Shih, adding it is likely to be completed by the end of 2011. The factory development is a Shenyang Municipal Government initiative, he says. But once completed Cessna’s Chinese partner Shenyang Aircraft (SAC) will use the factory to build 162 Skycatchers.
The new factory is north of Shenyang city and near the township of Faku. The municipal government is providing the land and building the support infrastructure such as roads. Shih also says a general aviation airport is being built beside the factory.
The 800-meter-long runway has already been shaped but has yet to be paved, says Shih. Having a general aviation airport next to the factory is important because SAC’s existing factory uses a military airbase.
SAC assembled its first Skycatcher last year and had the test flight on Sept. 17, 2009. But this involved getting special clearance from the Chinese military to use the airbase’s runway.
Shih says the Faku development is more than just helping Cessna. He says the municipal government is working to attract other aerospace companies to the site, including small parts manufacturers.
The 162 Skycatcher is a light sport aircraft made exclusively in China and exported to the U.S.
Shih says the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has granted type design approval (TDA) for the 162 Skycatcher. “It was the first time Cessna received TDA approval from the CAAC,” he says. The TDA application was submitted on July 14, 2009, and the approval is based on CCAR 21 revision three regulations, he adds.