It’s not Boeing or Airbus – we’re talking about a range of light utility and sport aircraft designed by Chris Heintz (CH) and offered as kit planes by the Zenith Aircraft Company based in Missouri, USA. Enter the George Heintz (China) Aircraft Manufacturing Company, which has been setting up factories all around China to assemble the CH range of aircraft. According to news from the China-Eurasia Expo currently being held in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi, the George Heintz company has just signed an agreement with Urumqi’s Economic-Technological Development zone to set up a production base there with the capacity to assemble 500 aircraft every year.
A reporter with a Xinjiang newspaper remarked that the low production and acquisition costs for this aircraft mean that investing in one of them would not be all that different to investing in a taxi. Indeed, with their short take-off and landing (STOL) capability, the two- to four-seat versions are known as “aerial taxis” and the 6- to 8-seat models are “aerial minibuses”! With a range of around 1,000 kilometers they are capable of flying from “city to city, county to county, bazaar to bazaar.” Whether or not much of this will actually be happening around China (much less Xinjiang) will depend on further opening up of low-level airspace and the development of related infrastructure.