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Skies over Sai Kung to go quiet for two months as PLA shuts down flying club

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Zlin 242L

The drone of light aircraft engines will be gone from the skies of Sai Kung this month and next. Fixed-wings, that is; little helicopters may still appear, clattering overhead.

Flying by the Hong Kong Aviation Club has been shut down by the People’s Liberation Army until the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong hand-over on July 1. A club spokesman said, “It is not for us to ask why: we are guests.” The PLA base at Sek Kong, formerly Hong Kong home of the RAF, is being renovated, VIPs are to be flown in and ceremonies rehearsed.

Fixed-wings need a runway and Sek Kong is the only one, aside from CLK, where light aircraft have been banned, except for emergencies. The club has arranged for helicopters to fly at limited times during the two months from Wai Ping farm, Sheung Shui. An R22 (two seater) and an R22 (four seater) have been moved there. The spokesman said the club has negotiated a site for a heli-base at Mui Wo, south Lantao. There won’t be room for a runway.

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Brand-new ZLIN 242L imported by club — but Sek Kong base is shut down for two months

Meanwhile, the club has imported a brand-new Zlin 242 to replace the similar model that crashed February last year in Tolo harbour killing an instructor, who was practising aerobatics solo. The new aircraft has a glass cockpit, ie many analogue instruments are replaced with digital screens displaying key data pilots need. The Zlin is fully aerobatic with inverted fuel and oil systems that allow it to fly upside down.

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Glass cockpit in a Zlin

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