China's first certified hot-air balloons take flight

By Wen Ya Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-21 1:03:01

A company in East China's Jiangsu Province has become China's first certified producer of hot air balloons.

A certificate issued Thursday means that the company's design and manufacture of HG2 balloons meet the safety requirements outlined by the Civil Aviation Administration of China in 2007 regulations, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The regulation states that hot air balloons need to be approved as airworthy.

Since the company applied for certification in 2009, the balloon, produced by the Nanjing Hongguang Airborne Equipment Factory, underwent tests more than a year, including flights of over 15 consecutive hours, tests involving the temperatures it could withstand, and tests involving various altitudes.

On Thursday, the company held a pilot flight in Nanjing, with local media in attendance.

Each HG2 balloon will be sold for about 80,000 yuan ($13,176), but only people with licenses to pilot hot air balloons, as well as flight approval, will be able to use them, according to the company.

The risks posed by hot air balloons, compared to other aircraft, are relatively low, but they are not widely used in China. Previously they were imported from foreign countries because overseas technology had been proven safe, Fu Xin, a hydromechanics professor with Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.

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