2012 (Nov 13-18)

Updated: 2016-10-14

THE 9th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, known as 2012 Airshow China, which ran from November 13 through 18, drew 650 exhibitors from home and abroad with more than 100 aero products on exhibit in an indoor exhibition area of 28,200sqkm. Over 400,000 visitors and $9.2 billion of trading revenue were estimated. In the meantime, eight medical teams and more than 2,000 volunteers from many walks of life were servicing the airshow.


Air Force aircraft

Among the variety of military, rescue, business, landmark and veteran flying machines, the Chinese, Russian and Pakistani air forces sent nearly 30 aircraft to Airshow China for either aerobatic or static exhibition.

In addition to seven J-10 fighters, China brought the new generation of elite home-made warplanes including the J-10 and J-8DF fighters, JH-7A and, H-6H bombers, KJ-200 early warning aircraft, Z-8KA transport helicopter and Z-9WA gunship for a collective debut on an unprecedented scale. 

Likewise, besides five Su-27 fighter jets, the Russian Air Force showcased an IL-76 transport aircraft, which has maximum take-off weight of 170,000kg and capacity of 40,000kg and is able to carry armoured cars, antiaircraft guns or air- defence missiles. Its outstanding performance makes it popular in China, the UK, India and elsewhere.

The Pakistan Air Force sent three JF-17 fighters, one for static display, and two for separate flight demonstrations. The JF-17 is known as the FC-1 Xiaolong in China and was jointly developed by the China Aviation Industry Corp (CAIC) and Pakistan industry.

Executive jets

American Cessna Aircraft co brought its Citation XLS, Cavaran and Citation Sovereign; whereas Gulfstream Aerospace corp exhibited its G550 and G450 business jets. The G550 has attained a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.87 and a non-stop range of 12,500km, making it the longest- range business jet in service then. Meanwhile, US business aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft showcased its King 350, King C90 and Bonanza G36, and Dassault Falcon displayed its Falcon 7X.

Canadian Bombardier had four business aircraft on static display. They were the world's best-seller Challenger 605 jet, the ultra long-range Global Express 6000 jet, the NextGen turboprop medium-range Q400, and super midsize Challenger 300 jet.

Moreover, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer's Legacy 650 large executive jet and Phenom 300 light jet aircraft were also on static display. The Legacy 650 executive jet, priced at 200 million yuan ($32 million), has gained increasing popularity in the Chinese market since Hong Kong-born international movie star Jackie Chan chose it as his private jet the year before.

The first Zhuhai-made Cirrus SR20 and SR22 business jets, the latter to make flight performance, were also present. Two Cirrus SR20 and one SR22 executive jets manufactured at the AVIC General Aircraft Zhuhai Industrial Base, the only aircraft manufacturing project in Guangdong, carried out successful test flights on October 10.


China Aviation Industry Corp (CAIC) showcased its helicopter line-up including the AC311, the first large civil transport helicopter developed in China, and AC311, a two-tonne multi- purpose helicopter. The former made flight demonstrations during the previous air show and the latter performed flight demonstrations this time.

Additionally, an AC312 police helicopter, which was delivered to the Hefei Public Security Bureau in July 2011, was also on exhibition. Well-equipped for police duties, the helicopter can carry out drug enforcement, anti-terrorist, anti-hijacking, pursuit, disaster relief, emergency rescue, air patrol, highway traffic patrol, police training and other missions. It can carry 12 regimental policemen.

The Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil (Squirrel), a single-engine light helicopter that is the first ever to land on the top of Mt Everest, at 8,848 m, was also seen here.

Furthermore, the Bell 429, the world's newest and most advanced light twin-engine helicopter co-developed by Bell Helicopter and Korea Aerospace Industries, made a flight display and invited customers for short excursions.

Veteran aircraft

Feng Ru, named after China's first airplane designer, producer and aeroplanist, is the first airplane designed, developed and produced by a Chinese. It made its successful test flight on 21 September 1909.

The Feng Ru on display was a replica of Feng Ru No2, which was made by Feng Ru in 1910 and was the first biplane in China.

Lenin plane was the first aircraft of the Chinese Red Army. In February 1930, because of heavy fog, a Corsair aircraft of the KMT Air Force was captured by the Red Army. The aircraft was repainted and named Lenin. The exhibit was also a replica of the original, which had been buried whereabouts unknown.

The 60549 was the Chinese version of the Soviet MiG-19 Farmer. It is a single-seat fighter plane and the first-generation home-made supersonic fighter. The exhibit was the last J-6 fighter retired among the series in June 2010.

The CJ-5, manufactured by Nanchang Aircraft Factory, was a licensed product of the Soviet primary trainer Yak-18 developed in 1946. It made a successful maiden flight in July 1954.

Missile weapon system

The China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp (CASIC) showcased its truck-mounted erector launcher (TEL) missile systems FD-2000.

The FD-2000 with vertical TEL is an advanced long-range, all-altitude air and missile defence system that can perform in "mass air raid and severe electronic jamming conditions." It can target cruise missiles, air-to- ground missiles, aircraft, precision- guided bombs and tactical ballistic missiles.

Other weapons included a ground- to-ground tactical strike weapon, sounding rocket, armoured personnel carrier, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, motorboat for Polar regions and more.

Meanwhile, China Aerospace Science & Technology Corp (CASTC) exhibited its Shenzhou-9 return capsule and a complex model of the Shenzhou-9 spaceship and Tiangong-1 lab module, Chang'e-3 lunar lander and Rainbow series UAV.  

August 1st leads stunt-teams 

THE PLA Air Force August 1st aerobatic team flew a seven-ship base formation in four-ship diamond, five-ship flowering, four-ship vertical flowering and six-plane double-scissor formations at Airshow China.

Founded in 1962, the team has performed in more than 300 events in 100 countries.

An additional J-10 fighter was on static display while the in-flight jets also produced smoke ribbon, hedgehop and turn manoeuvres. The team demonstrated aerobatics twice a day for extended performances of 28 to 29 minutes each. 

The team initially used 9 JJ-5 airplanes, a Chinese combination of Soviet two-seat MiG- 15UTls and MiG-17s equipped with generators that released white, red and blue, and later yellow and orange smoke. The team was named August 1st in 1997, and since then has flown six Chengdu F-7EB planes with five more in reserve.

At the end of 2009, they began transiting to the newer Chinese-built multi-role fighter Chengdu, J-10. It demonstrated fascinating aerobatic displays during the air show two years before after the aircraft were repainted dark blue, China red and silvery white, looking like three-dimensional swords as the aircraft rocket into the sky.

When flying, the craft were as close as 3m apart horizontally and 1.5m vertically while soaring at 200m per second. The team performed at the 35th and 50th National Day Military Parades and China's air shows.

Parachute Team

The PLA Air Force Parachute Team brought about Pioneers in Blue Sky, Fairies Come Down, Golden Dragons Dance, Celebrating Extravaganza, Rainbow Over Pearl River, Ribbon From Heaven and other segments. During flights at the previous show, the team enlarged the 5x7m national, army and air force flags to 15x23m -- the size of a basketball court -- the largest flags in the country.

Celebrating Extravaganza highlighted four parachutists diving with coloured smoke, shooting coloured balls after opening their parachutes and drawing a few coloured Chinese characters "human" in the sky. On the other hand, Fairies Come Down featured seven female members skydiving in costumes of seven colours and tuinga with long ribbons trailing.

Founded in 1958, the team has garnered 251 championships, won 610 gold medals and set eight world records and 29 national records in international and national competitions.

Beitling Jet Team

Beitling Jet Team, the largest civilian aerobatic display team in Europe, based in Dijon, France, flew seven Aero L-39 Albatros jets. The members flew to Zhuhai Airport mid October to avoid a snowstorm in Siberia and Mongolia.

The team flew 18-20 minutes in close formation, opposition passes, solo routines and synchronised manoeuvres. They had displayed around 50 demonstrations at air shows, Formula 1 Grand Prix races, sports events and so on across Europe and the Middle East.

The L-39 aircraft is a low-wing, tandem seating, all-metal turbofan-powered craft designed for basic and advanced training, including weapons delivery practice, as well as for light attack tasks.

The acrobatic figures of the seven L-39 planes were underscored by a biodegradable smoke-trail system. They were also enhanced by musical accompaniment that heightens intensity. During the demonstration, the planes alternate figures performed while flying in formation 2.5m apart with breaks, crossovers and original figures. The team had designed two special manoeuvres for Zhuhai, and their performance lasted 25 minutes.

Breitling wing-walking team

Coming from the British UBB Aerobatic Team and based at Rendcomb in Gloucestershire, Boeing Stearman biplane flight demonstration team was reportedly the only formation wing-walking team in the world. Two Boeing Stearman aircraft were generally used to perform a well-choreographed routine that included a variety of loops, rolls and turns.

The wing-walkers featured two females demonstrating acrobatic manoeuvres at 150mph while strapped to the tops of two 70- year-old biplanes, according to team leader Martyn Garrington. The wing-walkers climbed back into the cockpit while the aircraft was still in motion. Three women had been selected out of more than 100 applicants in the first half of the year, and the youngest was 23, she revealed.

Knights aerobatic flight team

Russian Knights aerobatic team of the Russian Air Force will use six-Su-27 fighters and one IL-76 transport in a five-aircraft formation at the air show.

Established in April 1991 at Kubinka Air Base, the team is the world's only user of heavy fighter aircraft for demonstration performances. They use Su-27 fighters to display their superior mobility to perfection. As early as September 1991, the team flew to the United Kingdom. Then came tours of Malaysia, the US, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Slovakia, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

The team stunned spectators with their fabulous "aerial ballet" during the second, third and sixth air shows in Zhuhai.

The Russian Knights do not use smoke generators. Pilots and ground crew are variable but don't usually have to practice extensively like other aerobatic teams to change members for some period. All pilots are drawn from the 237th Guards Proskurov Aircraft Demonstration Centre in Kubinka Air Base near Moscow. The pilots' permanent duty is fighter training and they routinely perform formation training only days before an air show.                 

Indoor areas replete with aero-things

THE indoor exhibition areas of Airshow China were filled with real and replica craft, weapons and space equipment running the gamut from shoes to a lunar landing vehicle.

Hall 1 featured the C919 large passenger plane and ARJ21 regional jet manufactured by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), aircraft engines and systems for civil aviation from US-based GE Aviation, and Honeywell’s SmartPath precision landing system.

Hall 2 highlighted the Shenzhou-9 return capsule and a complex model of the Shenzhou-9 spaceship and Tiangong-1 lab module, Chang’e-3 lunar lander and Rainbow series UAV developed by China Aerospace Science & Technology Corp (CASTC), FD-2000 air and missile defence system and defence confrontation system emulation demonstration by China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp (CASIC).

Hall 3 focused on J-10 fighters of various sizes, helicopters, hands-on flight simulators for the FC-1 Xiaolong (also known as JF-17 Thunder), the L-15 senior trainer, general aviation flight, K8 simulation training, model of FC-1 Xiaolong, concept model similar to J-31 advanced fighter, CJ1000 engine for C919 aircraft, Taihang aero engine, Jiuzhai aero engine, turboshaft 8C engine, and the HS133-H. Here were also found 1:1 models of LD-10 air-launched anti-radiation missiles, PL-9C infrared air-air missile, TY-90 infrared-homing short-range air-to-air missile and radar-guided medium range air-to-air missile developed by Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC). There were also models of China Air Force’s Z-9, Z-9WA, Z-8 rescue and Z-8 transport helicopters, HUJ-7, JJ-7, J-8 and CJ-6 trainers, KJ-2000, KJ-200 and Y-8 aircraft, KY-6, IL-76, Y-8 and Y-7 tankers, H-6, Su-30, JH-7A and Q-5 ground attack aircraft, Su-27, J-10, J-8 and J-7 fighters. 

Hall 4 spotlighted a line-up of wheeled infantry fighting vehicles covering mine-resistant ambush vehicle and all-terrain police vehicle developed by China South Industries Group Corp (CSIGC) and other manufacturers. It was the first time for CSIGC to show up as a group at the air show.

Hall 5 highlighted general aviation service dealers such as Jinggong (Beijing) General Aviation co ltd, Shanghai-based Zhengyang General Aviation Airport Development co ltd, Liuzhou Riviera Yacht Club and Aigle Azur from France that provide aircraft purchase, airworthiness, financing, import, training, chartering and other services. US Carpenter Technology corp, Zhuhai Orbit Control Engineering co ltd and other aircraft parts manufacturers were also showcasing their products here.

Hall 6 concentrated on all-round quartermaster equipment including a 55x20.7x9.08m rapid inflatable hangar, non-permanent bunker for anchorage, exam, maintenance and repair of fighters, helicopters and civil aircraft, set up by Xinxing Cathay International Group co ltd. It can be erected by six people in one or two hours without any lifting equipment. Additionally, there are quartermaster supplies such as uniforms for land, sea and air guards of honour, armed police, air force personnel, astronauts’ spacesuits, Zhenzhou-9 astronauts rescue suits, air force pilot flight suits, air force combat uniform, bullet-proof jacket, parachute, public security uniform and others. The astronauts’ shoes and boots are being show for the first time. Furthermore, a multi-functional police mobile comprehensive service structure for office, rest, catering and other functions for field outpost or patrol is being shown.

The outdoor exhibition areas encompass static display area and flight demonstrations.


China (Guangdong) Intl Communication Forum
Airshow China
Zhuhai Talent Program
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