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THE 1st China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 1996) was held at Zhuhai Airport site Nov 5-10, 1996. Nearly 400 exhibitors and representatives from 25 countries and territories and 700,000 visitors took part. With total exhibit space of 10,560 sq m, 96 military and civilian aircraft from home and abroad were on display and agreements were signed for 16 projects worth 2 billion yuan ($242 million).
1. The Jian-8II (J-8II, NATO codename: Finback-B), a single-seat, twin-engine multi-role fighter aircraft developed by Shenyang Aircraft Industry Co (SAC) based on its J-8I fighter that reportedly outperforms the US F-16 and Dassault Aviation Mirage 2000, a multi-role French combat fighter, in ultrasonic performance, cut a smart figure during the show. The Chinese Z-9C helicopter and Y-12 showed up and the British Golden Dreams Team thrilled Zhuhai with a flamboyant mix of exhilarating aerobatic flights.
2. Su-27 and Su-30 stunned spectators with the amazing Cobra Maneuver, consisting of a rapid pitch-up from the horizontal to a full 120 degrees. The pilots held this attitude as their aircraft continued to move horizontally. Airspeed dropped rapidly, but the thrust vector system, fly-by-wire controls, canard and tail surfaces allowed the pilot to pitch the nose down. The fighters were then brought forward into normal flying in only a few seconds.
3. Aerial refueling was performed by a Su-27, Su-30 and IL-78, the latter designed for in-flight re-fuelling of various airplanes. The tanker is fitted with a three-point probe and drogue re-fuelling system (one under each wing and removable, and one mounted on the port side of the rear fuselage). Su-27 and Su-30 adjusted hard to close to the two probes thrown out from the IL-78 until the probes plugged into the drogue baskets, which won deafening applauses from the audience.
4. The Long March CZ-2E launcher, a symbol of China’s 40-year space technology achievements, highlighted Airshow China 1996.
5. A traffic jam extended 36km from Qianshan Bridge to the airport on Saturday, the fifth day of the airshow. Some walked hours to the site and some stayed where they were for more than ten hours. Many relieved themselves in fields far away or behind the rocks or wild grass.
Airshow site construction(1) in 1996 [Photo by Yan Xing / Provided to China Daily]
Airshow site construction(2) in 1996 [Photo by Yan Xing / Provided to China Daily]
Airshow site construction(3) in 1996 [Photo by Yan Xing / Provided to China Daily]
Construction of exhibition hall(1) in 1996 [Photo by Yan Xing / Provided to China Daily]
Construction of exhibition hall(2) in 1996 [Photo by Yan Xing / Provided to China Daily]
Construction of exhibition hall(3) in 1996 [Photo by Yan Xing / Provided to China Daily]
Construction workers under hard conditions in 1996 [Photo by Yan Xing / Provided to China Daily]