Airshow in the Middle Kingdom
From 1st to 6th of november 2016, the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition opened it’s doors at the exhibition ground at Zhuhai International Airport.
With over 700 exhibitors from more than 40 countries and a spectacular flight program, the 11th edition of the biennial event was the largest of its kind.
Zhuhai is located near Hong Kong. Its one of China’s premier tourist destinations, being called the Chinese Riviera. Since 1996, the city has hosted the only international aviation event in China. For this purpose, a modern exhibition ground was built at the International Airport.
Without being a world-class event the fair has always grown. In it’s 11th edition, more than 700 exhibitors from over 40 countries participated. The majority of them from China itself or from Russia.
The exhibition offers foreign visitors one of the rare opportunities to get an insight look into the PLAAF. The performances of two Chinese productions were very impressive. The FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle (also known as JL-9), which was presented in Zhuhai in 2001, has been operating in the Chinese armed forces for several years.
Furthermore, the numerous viewers could get an impression of the Xian Y-20. The long-distance transport aircraft was officially introduced into the PLAAF in mid-June 2017. From the first flight of the four-jet aircraft with an estimated payload of 66 tons, until the introduction into the force, only two and a half years passed.
Since 2009 the PLAAF „August 1st“ aerobatics team has been equipped with the Chengdu J-10 Multi-Role-Fighters. The team, which is rarely seen outside of China, is characterized by the precision of the flown figures and does not need to hide from the comparison with the top European teams.
It was the last public appearance of the team with the well-known female pilot Yu Xu. The young officer died a few days later in a tragic training accident.
Especially for the local public the RAF Red Arrows, which occurred during their long-distance tour in Zhuhai, were the secret stars of the airshow. The performances of the Reds from RAF Scampton were accompanied by frenetic jubilation and applause, as we know it in Europe only from football stadiums.
The flight program also received a further international flair through the presentation of a JF-17 „Thunder“ jets from the Pakistani Air Force as well as two Russian aerobatics teams „Russian Knights“ and „Strischi“.
So the flying-display of this year’s Zhuhai Airshow was more by class than by mass. Aircraft enthusiasts would certainly be happy to admire more Chinese aircraft in the sky and on the ground. Nevertheless, the twelfth edition in two years already will be firmly noted in the schedule.