Look upwards, and one will see – not aerobatics, but more Chinese flags than ever fluttering gently in the breeze here at AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Look down, and China has a fast-growing presence in U.S. general aviation, underscored with a national pavilion here and another sponsored by the province of Shandong. Look even more closely and one sees Chinese labeling on an Enstrom 280FX helicopter following the company’s acquisition by China’s Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co., last December.
The drumbeat is relentless. China, in its preparation to meet the pent-up demands of a dammed-up domestic market for general aviation, is buying up general aviation in the West at an ever-increasing rate. Cirrus. Continental aircraft engines. Epic Aircraft. Superior AirParts. Thielert diesel engines. Brantly, and Enstrom Helicopters. All are now Chinese-owned. Count China as a recently-announced major investor in the ICON light sport aircraft, whose airframes will now be made by Chinese-owned Cirrus, albeit in the U.S. And Chinese money is also bringing the single-engined Cirrus Vision jet to market.
For the complete story by John Morris of Aviation Week, click here.