He Yide (Duoduo) trains to pilot his light aircraft over Beijing Wildlife Park on September 1 according to a Weibo post by father He Liesheng. Photo: Weibo
A man in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province who announced plans for his 5-year-old son to pilot a light aircraft over Beijing Wildlife Park had his feathers ruffled by Chinese aviation authorities after they delayed approving the flight.
He Liesheng, who was dubbed 'Eagle Dad' last year by Chinese press for his tough parenting style, posted news of the flight plan on his Weibo account August 29 to send 5-year-old son He Yide (Duoduo) to fly over Beijing Wildlife Park in his lightweight aircraft from an airfield in adjacent Gu'an county, Hebei Province.
The post outlined included three possible flight times between August 31 and September 1, and was posted only 18 days after junior He took his maiden flight.
According to a relative, the flight plan is still being deliberated by local airport authorities with no further updates. Calls to the senior He went unanswered, reported the Beijing Youth Daily on September 1.
He has posted daily Weibo updates about his son's progress since August 13, including pictures of the 5-year-old in his ultra-light "Bee 3-C" craft.
"His first flight was very successful and he wasn't scared at all," the father He posted on August 14. "We logged three hours of flight time and put in another four on the ground. His flight instructor Yang praised Duoduo's performance," read the post.
He said he plans to contact the Guinness World Records to register his son as the world's youngest pilot.
However, experts say it is unlikely the flight plan will be approved as it utilizes airspace controlled by the Chinese Air Force and the light craft is underequipped to deal with air traffic.
"Even if it was conducted entirely in civilian airspace, other planes would have to adjust their altitudes to avoid it. This would definitely cause traffic jams," an air traffic controller with Civil Aviation Administration of China Air Traffic Management Bureau told the paper.
Not only are private flights in China subject to a lengthy and complicated application process but according to China Civil Aviation Law, applicants for pilot licenses must be at least 17 years of age.
He made headlines in 2012 for his pushy parenting after he sent his then 4-year-old son running in the snow in New York wearing only his underwear. He told press he had made the child run in sub zero temperatures to "toughen him up."
Duoduo sits in the cockpit of his ultra-light "Bee 3C" during a flight lesson. Photo: Weibo
Duoduo takes his maiden flight on August 14. The senior He has been posting daily Weibo updates of his training. Photo: Weibo