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Chinese plants to make ultralight electric aircraft

Reporter: Aljosa Milenkovic 丨 CCTV.com

11-28-2016 16:33 BJT

China's Sino GA signed a $390 million contract with the Slovenian aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel at the beginning of November. The agreement calls for two factories to be built in China that will produce 500 ultralight aircraft per year, transfer of technology and selling rights in 11 Asian countries. What makes the deal particularly interesting is that most of the small aircraft will be electrically powered.

It's a rainy day in Ajdovscina and the Pipistrel aircraft are stuck on the ground.

The test pilots don't have much to do, but there's plenty of activity inside the factory.

Even the factory owner comes to help.

Pipistrel aircraft are in high demand because the company is a world leader in producing electric planes. 

Their quality and eco friendliness has been recognized by China.

"They have a vision to fight against the climate changes and they are taking this very seriously. And also, because of this our contract had a lot of publicity, and is the proof also that China means very seriously with the climate changes," said Ivo Boscarol, owner of Pipistrel.

So, is "electric" flying different to the old kerosene school?

"From the pilot’s point of view as for flying itself, there is no significant difference. The only difference is that the electric plane is much quieter, and to start the aircraft you only need to press two buttons," said Denis Rutar, Pipistrel Test Pilot.

According to Ivo Boscarol, by 2020 China will require almost 30,000 small two and four seat aircraft.

Ivo and his Chinese partners hope that most of those planes will be those which need just two buttons to start.

Many Slovenian companies would like to follow Pipistrel's example, but according to an expert on China's economy, they’ll need to adapt.

"If they want to enter the Chinese market, they need to open to foreign equity in particular Chinese equity and partnerships. I would say that this project is a huge project for Slovenia, it’s a huge project for Central and Eastern Europe," said Matevz Raskovic, Assistant Professor - Ljubljana Faculty of Economy.

China's aviation market is open only for the best, and Ivo keeps his company at the top.

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