Skies abuzz with little aircraft

Fixed-wing Cessnas and Zlin fly from Sek Kong, Robinson helicopters also from Kai Tak

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Aviation Club President Gigi Chao, newly elected and briefly famous

On the weekends when the weather is good and the People’s Liberation Army has cooperated, the skies over Sai Kung and CWB will be abuzz with little aircraft.  Where do they come from?

Many of them will be from the Hong Kong Aviation Club. If the aircraft overhead is a club fixed-wing it will have flown from Sek Kong. If it’s a helicopter it may have come from Kai Tak or Sek Kong.

A young lady, briefly famous, was recently elected President of the HKAC. Gigi Chao, a helicopter pilot, became the first female head of the club.  Her billionaire father, Cecil, made headlines around the world after saying daft things to the newspapers.

The club’s fixed-wings fly from the People’s Liberation Army base at Sek Kong on the seven days a month the army permits this. These include a Cessna 152, three C172s, a C182 — used for parachuting in pre-CLK days — and a Zlin 242L.  The latter is the club’s newest aircraft, fresh from the Czech factory. It’s more powerful, a bit noisier, and fully aerobatic.gigi

The helicopters can also fly from Kai Tak where the clubhouse, dating from 1929, remains with its bar and restaurant. Two Robinson 22s and an R44 are based there.

Also operating out of Sek Kong are a privately owned Cap 10, a French wood-and-canvas tail-dragger, and an Extra 300, a beautiful German yellow rocket. Kai Tak is home too to multi-million-dollar Eurocopters, owned by syndicates.

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Zlin 242L, club’s newest aircraft straight from the factory

The operational bosses at the HKAC are Chief Flying Instructor Emile Niu for fixed wings and CFI John Li for helicopters. The club encourages people interested in flying to do a trial introductory flight costing from $2930 per hour for a Cessna 152 with an instructor and $3970 per hour for a Robinson 22.

2711 5555 or www.aviationclub.hk

LATEST NEWS: After this article was written, Gigi announced that the government had banned helicopter flying from Kai Tak

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