China To Host Cross-Continent Air Race

Event will highlight easing of airspace restrictions.

China Air Race

China Air Race

An epic air race across the heart of China? Apparently it's really happening, with a qualifying event planned for this September in conjunction with the upcoming Open Skies General & Business Aviation Leaders Forum in Xian, China.

Pilots of light piston airplanes are being invited to participate in the race next year from Istanbul to the Chinese coast. September's qualifying race will cover a course from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, cutting across China's midsection to Xian nearly 2,000 nautical miles to the east.

Billed as the Great Silk Road Air Race 2015, the qualifier event planned for September 10-12, 2014, permits any pilot who completes the course to be entered in next year's race. A prize of $50,000 will go to the winner of the qualifier while the winner of the main event will be awarded $150,000 and the Xian Trophy. Xian lies on the historic Silk Road trading route linking East and West.

The races are a way of showing that China is getting serious about permitting private flights within its borders after years of strict military control. The Chinese government will expedite all necessary flight permits for the races, according to organizers of Open Skies. The three-day conference will be attended by business aviation representatives and government officials, with the qualifying race finishing on the event's final day.

We'll be sure to update you with more information as details of the race and the Open Skies conference become available.

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