Date
17 December 2017
Hank Cheng waves to the crowd after the plane's successful inaugural test flight in November. Photos: Cathay Pacific, Metro Daily
Hank Cheng waves to the crowd after the plane's successful inaugural test flight in November. Photos: Cathay Pacific, Metro Daily

Globetrotting dreams have to wait for HK’s home-built airplane

A Hong Kong pilot is eager to take the city‘s first home-built airplane around the world, but he may have to work hard and wait a long time before his dream can come true.

The single-engine, two-seater RV-8, assembled by Cathay Pacific Airways captain Hank Cheng, conducted a test flight in November at the Chek Lap Kok Airport, flying for around 15 minutes before making a successful landing.

That came after the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) gave its unexpected approval for the test flight in 2013.

But the department stressed that its approval was just for last year’s test flight, and the airplane needs up to 25 hours of test flights before it can consider giving its approval for flight to other countries, Metro Daily reported on Friday.

It noted that Hong Kong lacks a suitable place for the assembled plane to take off and land.

The airplane can now only apply for a permit to fly, which allows it to be in the air within the city, but it needs an airworthiness certificate in order to fly to other countries, the CAD said.

An airplane must complete multiple test flights before it can be awarded an airworthiness certificate, it added.

Cheng’s team said they can complete the required test flights without disrupting operations at the airport because a take-off or landing takes only one to two minutes.

Such time slots are available everyday at the airport for the test flights, the team said.

Former CAD head Albert Lam Kwong-yu said there is a bigger chance for the team to conduct test flights at the Shek Kong Airfield in the New Territories, noting that it is quite difficult for Chek Lap Kok Airport to accommodate small planes.

Previous reports:

Hong Kong’s first self-assembled plane ready for test flight

How a young pilot turned his childhood dream into reality

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TL/AC/CG

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