发布日期:2008-04-04
       V-PLANE Managing Director: China Gives Us Chance t
At the 2012 AOPA Shanghai International General Aviation Show held during Aug. 28-30 in Shanghai, China, Mr. Joachim Lau, Managing Director of v-plane, was very kind by giving WCARN.com the exclusive opportunity to share the development of general aviation in Europe and his expectations of the Chinese general aviation market as the country will further open up its low-altitude airspace nationwide.

WCARN.com: Thanks for accepting our interview, Mr. Joachim Lau. Our first question is that why has v-plane decided to be here at AOPA Shanghai International General Aviation Show?
Mr. Joachim Lau: We have several business partners in Germany. One of our partners is German Confederation of Small Business and Skilled Crafts. They have a location here in China and they invited us to join the affair, so that's why we are here.

WCARN.com: How do you think about this general aviation show?
Mr. Joachim Lau: I didn't expect there is no aircraft on the show. There is no real aircraft. So I didn't expect that. That is different for me. But it's a start. It's interesting and the companies which are here are also interesting.

WCARN.com: As we all know, v-plane was founded in 2004. Can you share with us what products have v-plane launched in recent years?
Mr. Joachim Lau: We have a general aviation know how in Germany which was developed during the last 60 years. And we decided to pool all the remaining know how, so all German specialists in general aviation are at v-plane. We develop aircraft and we certify aircraft. We have like 45 employees and a lot of them are above 60 years old. So there is a lot of know how. In Germany, there's a whole generation which was not trained, so the specialists today are older. They are all at v-plane. And we develop aircraft for different clients and we certify aircraft according to the EASA standards, so that's our business.
We actually started to pick up project in 2009. We were founded in 2004. But it took some time under formation and we really started in 2008. We have several clients from all over the world, for example, Russia, other countries in Europe, and hopefully also in China. That's why we are here.

WCARN.com: Can you tell us about the target customers of v-plane? Also, what are the special features of V-plane products compared with the competitors?
Mr. Joachim Lau: We don't have competitors. That's a fact, because we are the only company which is certifying products according to the EASA standards in Europe. Usually, the certification of an aircraft is done by the manufacturer. We are the only company who is independent. We have several clients with different aircraft coming to v-plane for development and certification, so we have no competitor in Europe, that's true.
Because what we have in Europe is manufacturers and they develop and certify their own aircraft, and v-plane is independent. So if you want to build an aircraft, and you have no EASA authorization, you just come to v-plane. We are the only company in Europe which is independent and that's a whole difference. Our product is engineering and certification know how. We have an approver from EASA to certify our aircraft. So that's our business.

WCARN.com: Can you introduce the current status of general aviation development in Germany and in Europe?
Mr. Joachim Lau: There was not much aircraft developed in the last years in the general aviation, because in Europe nobody wants to invest or nobody is able to invest. But there's the big market. For example, the Cessna 162, this aircraft is from the 1960s and there is no new aircraft comparable to Cessna. There is market. Also this two-engine aircraft for 11 passengers, the actual aircraft is also from the 1970s, more than 30 years old. There are no new aircraft in the market.
But on the other hand, no one in Europe wants to invest and to take the risk. So we as v-plane need clients or investors who are willing and have the potential to invest. The market is there, but in Europe nobody is investing. And because of the situation, the whole industry is not gone in Germany, but the remaining know how is at v-plane. They are older than 60 years. That's what I explain. We have it in our hands now to transfer the know how to the next generation. That's the picture in Germany and in Europe. The market is waiting for the new aircraft.

WCARN.com: Basically we have seen a fast growth here in China in terms of general aviation. Also, China is going to open up low-altitude airspace across the country starting in 2013, so how do you think this will influence v-plane in exploring the Chinese market?
Mr. Joachim Lau: So that's one of the reasons why we are here, because lower airspace will be opened, and our market is general aviation. This aircraft or a lot of these aircraft are for the lower airspace. We think that the development in Germany or in Europe, we need also the Chinese market, as for example, Russian market to have enough potential to sell aircraft. Because investment also in the general aviation for development or for aircraft is very high, we need the market specially the Chinese market, that's why we are here.
We hope that the new situation we open the market. There will be a great potential. That's probably the reason why we are here on the affair. It's a big step I think. It gives us a chance to develop new aircraft. That's what we want. I have a lot of senior engineers above 60 years old, and they want to develop interesting aircraft. That's why we do, for example, the suborbital project. It's an aircraft for the low orbit. These are interesting projects.

WCARN.com: Once again, thanks for your valuable time, Mr. Joachim Lau.

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