In April several events happened which were very important for Slovenian-Chinese aviation cooperation as well as for Pipistrel.
In the middle of April, five Chinese inspectors of the Agency for Civil Aviation (CAAC) made a visit to Pipistrel to complete a so-called â€śvalidation auditâ€ť for three models of aircraft - they reviewed the production, technical documentation and Slovenian type certificates for the aircraft Virus 912, Virus SW and Sinus 912.
The validation is a process of compliance revision of all data, listed on the Slovenian type certificate, which was approved by the Slovenian Civil Aviation Agency (CAA). Inspectors examined the documentation of three aircraft, comprising approximately 3000 pages. All of them also performed test-flights in all three types of aircraft.
The process of validation and certification of the aircraft is a lengthy, but very important part of entering the Chinese market. The inspectors reported zero negative audit findings about documentation and air-testing of the aircraft, so Pipistrel completed the process of validation in the best possible way.
On 25. April a high-level Chinese delegation visited Slovenia:
â€˘ H.E. Mr. Feng Zhenglin, Vice Minister of Transport, Administrator, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)
â€˘ Mr. Han Jun, Director General, Department of International Affairs, CAAC
â€˘ Mr. Yin Shijun, Director General, Department of Airworthiness, CAAC
â€˘ Mr. Gao Bo, Secretary of Mr. Feng Zhenglin, General Office, CAAC
â€˘ Ms. Yu Man, Official, Department of International Affairs, CAAC
The first assignment of H.E. Mr. Feng Zhenglin, Vice Minister of Transport, was one which will have a great influence on the aviation industry
and cooperation between the two countries. The Slovene Minister for
Infrastructure, Dr. Peter GaĹˇperĹˇiÄŤ and H.E. Mr. Feng Zhenglin signed an important document; the Memorandum of Understanding between the Aviation Administration agencies of Slovenia and China.
Mr. Zhenglin signed another document, the Bilateral Technical Agreement between the Agencies for Civil Aviation of China and Slovenia with the director of the Slovenian Agency for Civil Aviation, Mr. Rok Marolt. It is an agreement on mutual recognition of aircraft certification processes (production, maintenance and spare parts) between Slovenia and China.
The first version of this document was signed
already in 2012, Slovenia being the first EU country to sign it with the
Civil Aviation Agency of the Republic of China. It offered Pipistrel a
great potential of cooperation and set the basis for the certification
of the first model - the Taurus, which was accomplished one year ago. On
25. April a new version of the Agreement was signed in Ljubljana, which
improves and upgrades the previous one. It includes all the legal
provisions of the first one but enables faster validation process for
aircraft, aircraft parts and equipment for both countries. This
agreement widely opens the door to Chinese market not only to Pipistrel,
but to all Slovenian producers of aircraft, aviation equipment,
products and activities related to the aviation industry.
The second stop of Vice Minister and the delegation was a visit to the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Borut Pahor.
We are all very honoured that even the president of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Borut Pahor, took some time to meet the important guests and thus gave yet additional significance to the prominent visit.
On the following day, 26. April, the delegation mentioned above visited Pipistrel together with:
â€˘ H.E. Mr. Ye Hao, Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia
â€˘ Mrs. Zhao Xiufen, Economic & Commercial Counselor of Embassy of the P.R. China in the Republic of Slovenia
â€˘ Mr. Wu Tongxin, Third Secretary, Embassy of the P.R. China in the Republic of Slovenia
â€˘ Mr. Zhang Xianfeng, Attache, PA to the Ambassador, Embassy of the P.R. China in the Republic of Slovenia
and several other Slovene visitors.
His Excellence Mr. Zhenglin is credited with extreme liberalization of Chinese aviation and flying in a very short time. For all segments light aviation he simplified the acquisition of certificates for aircraft manufacturers, pilot licensing and made legislation which regulates public flight much less strict. He wished to have a look at the aviation legislation and system organisation of a country where flying is very popular and liberalized. He mentioned the possibility of transferring such a model also to China. With this intention he visited the airports in Lesce, PortoroĹľ and a few other smaller airports where sport flying is the main activity.
The deputy Minister of Transport dedicated one part of his official visit to awarding the certificates for the three reviewed models of aircraft (Virus 912, Virus SW and Sinus 912) to Pipistrel.
All those aircraft can now be legally sold and registered in the Chinese market, along with the Taurus model, for which the certificate was already obtained some time ago.
The Chinese delegation also visited Pipistrelâ€™s HQ building and had a look at the production:
All this could not be achieved without the dedicated work and help Pipistrel representative in China, Mr. Danny Hao Wu, CEO of Flying Tigers General Aviation Co., Ltd. from Beijing.
Mr. Danny Hao Wu in the blue jacket
Mr. Wu has been the Pipistrel agent in China since 2012 and in this time he has made an outstanding contribution to liberalization of Chinese aviation legislation and consequentially opening of Chinese airspace and market for civil aviation. This is an extremely important achievement, which will have as the result many years of successful co-operation between Pipistrel and Flying Tigers.
To date, the company Flying Tigers General Aviation Co. bought nearly 50 Pipistrel aircraft and imported them into China, where they are used mainly for the purposes of marketing and promotional demo flights. Flying Tigers opened 5 offices in five different Chinese districts in the last few years, with three more to be opened in the future. The company aims to establish an efficient and extensive network of representatives Pipistrel in China, with the ultimate goal to have at least one representative in each of the 32 Chinese provinces.
China aviation industry is only just starting to develop. Until this year it was in China's total registered only 2,000 private planes, but the industry and sales began to grow about 30% per year. Until 2030 they are planning to build 2800 new private airports for general aviation (at the moment, there are only about 300 registered airports) so a rapid increase in demand for small aircraft is expected. Liberalization of hitherto very demanding and strict legislation for acquiring pilot licenses has a great role in this.
Therefore Pipistrel is very grateful to His Excellency Mr. Zhenglin and his team for his effort in liberalisation of sport flying in China. We are very pleased that Mr. Zhenglin decided to honour Pipistrel with his presence and we believe that his visit clearly highlights the importance and potential of Sino-Slovenian cooperation in the field of aviation. We are happy to be a part of such a story.
Projects that are planned in the China market as a result of the efforts and extensive participation of the civil aviation authorities of China and Slovenia. With professional and selfless support for the civil aviation authorities of both countries Pipistrel managed to get one step further in its path, but above all to put that first and most important step on the way of Sino-Slovenian cooperation in the aviation industry, which will serve as an example for many other countries!
So please allow us to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who contributed to the success of this effort. We would like to thank all the Chinese and Slovenian authorities, all the supporters, officials, business associates and everyone else who helped or facilitated the process of validation, acquiring the certificates or the organisation of Chinese delegationâ€™s visit in Slovenia.