China Aviation Update: Let's Look on the Bright Side

By James Fallows

On the bright side, another barrier removed as China progresses toward aerospace eminence! As reported by a writer for my favorite newspaper, the China Daily, more people will soon be able to learn to fly:

The report also pointed out the opportunity China has to close the gap in this field as in so many others:

Fewer than 100 Chinese people are receiving training for private licenses, and the relaxation will unleash a market that has huge potential, [aviation spokesman] Qian said.

Zhong Ning, a spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Administration, said only 345 people in China have private licenses. 

As a benchmark for the 345 private pilots in China, there are about 600,000+ active certificated pilots in the U.S.

On the other hand, the Chinese pilots will face a new test of their skills. Via the South China Morning Post:

And also Reuters:

For more, naturally see China Airborne. And soon: how we should feel about the testimony today of an Asiana pilot that he was "very concerned" at the prospect of making a visual landing without instrument guidance at San Francisco Airport, before the fatal "landing short" episode this summer.  

(Initial reaction: What??? Visual landings are what pilots first learn to do -- and what you do in most instrument approaches, once you finally break out of the clouds and are relieved to see the runway. And what about the other pilots in the cockpit, at least some of whom should have been comfortable with visual landings? But all this is what the NTSB will look into.)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/12/china-aviation-update-lets-look-on-the-bright-side/282285/