In case you’ve been napping, and you think that all they make in China are iPhones, cheap t-shirts, and miscellaneous tchotchkes . . . think again.
Forbes and Flightclub report that a US aerial sightseeing company is purchasing twenty Harbin Y-12 aircraft for use in air tours of Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, as well as other light duty tasks. This would be the first Chinese aircraft imported to the United States. Ever.
So let’s be completely transparent: the engines are coming from Pratt & Whitney and the avionics from Honeywell–the more difficult bits are North American. However, that doesn’t diminish the expertise required to design and manufacture the airframe and integrate all the pieces.
This development should not surprise anyone who’s been paying attention. China has been trying very hard to catch their aerospace sector up with the West, as detailed in China Airborne. They’ve purchased Cirrus Aircraft to grow their light civil aircraft production capabilities. They have made space to allow expansion of their helicopter manufacturing efforts. They’ve got a manned space station, Tiangong, and a probe on the Moon.
Watch out, Boeing and Airbus . . . there’s a new kid on the block.