22 March 2019
Hank Cheng poses for a picture beside his labor of love. Credit:
Hank Cheng poses for a picture beside his labor of love. Credit:

HK-built aircraft to begin round-the-world voyage in August

The man behind the first made-in-Hong Kong aircraft hopes to take his single propeller plane on a round-the-world voyage next month, fulfilling a long-held ambition.

Hank Cheng, who unveiled the “Inspiration” single-engine aircraft in November last year, said he hopes his endeavor will encourage Hong Kong youth to pursue their dreams.

Cheng invested over HK$1.5 million over seven years to purchase parts overseas and built the two-seater RV-8 aircraft which is 21 feet long and bears a wingspan of 24 feet.

Tests have shown that the aircraft can achieve a top speed of 221 miles per hour.

Cheng, who had earlier worked as a Cathay pilot for 15 years, had always nurtured a dream of building a plane for Hong Kong.

He began the project by recruiting 500 teammates, comprising pilots and engineers and secondary students from St. Paul’s Convent School.

The plane made a successful inaugural flight in November last year, but Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department refused to give a license. It was suggested that the craft undergo 40 hours of flight testing in Australia.

The aircraft completed the tests and was approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Australia.

Cheng and his team improved the plane in Australia by installing three cylinders to extend the flying time of the craft.

Now the plane has accumulated 100 hours of flying time. Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department inspected the aircraft on Wednesday and is expected to issue a license.

Cheng plans a three-month tour, flying the plane to over 25 countries including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy.

During the round-the-world journey, the plane will stop at 50 airport stations to refuel and fly a total of distance of 55,000 kilometers.

The longest single distance of the route would be a 13-hour flight of 3,800 kilometers from Hawaii to San Jose in California.

The trip is expected to cost between HK$3 million and HK$4 million.

Cheng has raised some funds from sponsors Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. and Shell Hong Kong, but he is still short of around HK$1 million.

He is hoping that Hong Kong citizens will lend him a helping hand so that he’ll be able to fulfill his childhood dream.

How a young pilot turned his childhood dream into reality (Nov 16, 2015)

Translation by Chloe Chow

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