CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (11/29/2019 Fri.)

CHINA

Podcast: Story in the Story (11/29/2019 Fri.)

People's Daily app

01:56, November 29, 2019

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From the People's Daily App.

This is Story in the Story.

China is aiming to have 74 more civil transport airports by 2020, according to a report released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The report said the country will continue to construct 30, and build 44 new, civil transport airports by 2020, and the number of civil transport airports will reach about 260 by 2020.

These projects would make trips to China’s third-tier cities, generally the medium-sized cities of each province, much easier, according to the report.

China's aviation sector is multi-dimensional, with various types of aircraft suited for different purposes. 

In some remote areas in China's massive western regions, more and more small turboprop planes are shuttling around cities, mines, or engineering facilities. 

Today’s Story in the Story looks at how the small aircraft industry is meeting demand in China’s smaller cities and remote regions. 

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Liu Yibing (front) pilots a delta-wing aircraft at an aero sports festival in Gansu province last year. (Photo provided to China Daily)

Liu Yibing was a teenager when he made his first plane from bedsheets and the engine of a pesticide sprayer in 1990.

"I gradually realized that I should have taken many things into consideration like engine power, air resistance, and the aircraft's weight and design," said Liu, 47, who now works as a flight instructor.

Over the next five years, Liu spent about $1,400 on his hobby and made four more planes that failed.

Liu's father passed away in 1982. His stepfather was a village doctor and wanted him to follow in his footsteps. But at the age of 18, Liu found himself sitting at a desk, unable to absorb the content of the medical textbooks. 

Liu's mother, a farmer, sold an apartment for 200,000 yuan in 2009 and gave all the money to him to buy the materials to build a plane.

"My mother supported me because I had no job, and she feared that I would join some bad group. Making planes let me concentrate on a hobby that was less disagreeable to her," he said.

Villagers' negativity about Liu's sky-high ambition motivated him to succeed. Some said he was a daydreamer, and if he managed to build a plane, all of the college students and teachers should quit their positions and give their places to him.

In 1995, Liu changed strategy and tried to fly a glider from the top of a small mountain. After being airborne for 30 meters, the glider fell into a shallow pool. 

"During that test, I was so nervous that I couldn't control it and fell down," Liu said. "And I was really upset that I had been failing for five years. I had no confidence to persist anymore."

The same year he managed to buy a 30-horsepower engine from a retired engineer of a shipbuilding company based in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province.

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Liu Yibing and members of his aero sports club perform power paragliding at an air show held in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region. (Photo provided to China Daily)

In 1996, he finally succeeded. His sixth plane left the ground of a newly built highway near his home, traveling at the height of about 3 meters for 100 meters.

"Even if it just flew for a short distance, I felt extremely excited because a plane made by me could fly. But its lift was still not enough, so I painted the nylon wing skin to make it airtight," he said.

"I read a book about ultralight aircraft design and wrote a letter to the author, Hu Jizhong, an aeronautics professor at Beihang University. I took a train to visit him in Beijing in 1997, and he gave me a lot of tips, such as the center of gravity of an aircraft," he said.

In October of the same year, Liu converted his one-seat aircraft into a two-seater and took each of his parents for a flight.

In 2001, Liu obtained his license for powered paragliding, which utilizes a giant fan-like motor to generate thrust and lift for the pilot. 

After gaining enough air hours, he was able to start earning money from his plane. In 2003, he used his Deltawing aircraft to take aerial videos for a local television station and made 6,000 yuan in one week. 

In 2009, he won a gold medal at a national ultralight aircraft championship and became a member of the Aero Sports Federation of China.

Since 2010, he has leased 12.4 hectares of land in Helan County, Ningxia, and set up his own aero sports club. 

"Many children are interested in aerospace and would like to experience flying or even making planes," he said, and added, “I will build a museum of flight and let more people know about the skies."

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Lance Crayon, Brian Lowe and Da Hang. Music by: bensound.com. Text from China Daily and Global Times.)


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