KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Tomorrow’s planned test flight for Malaysia’s aspiring aerial mobility vehicle does not have the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).
CAAM revealed that the test location at the University Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology (UniKL MIAT) hangar in Subang, is less than 200 metres away from commercial airline and helicopter traffic and falls within the Subang Airport Terminal Control Zone that is under strict supervision of the Air Traffic Control.
“CAAM would like to announce that the planned test flight of UAS E-Hang 216 (EH216) scheduled for 21st November 2019 has not been authorized by CAAM.
“In addition to this, the EH216 was only issued a Special Flight Permit by its State of Design (Civil Aviation Administration of China) which is limited to conduct research & development flights in Grand World Science Park, Guangzhou,” CAAM said in a statement.
Yesterday, entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Redzuan Yusof refused to divulge the place and time for conducting the test flight, only revealing that it would be a closed event with a private firm and would not be open to the press.
He said he would be a passenger on the vehicle and that his ministry only helped to facilitate the project and create an environment for the company to thrive.
Then earlier today in Parliament, Redzuan was put on the defensive during Question Time today when Opposition lawmakers besieged him over the “flying car” issue after it was dismissed as a drone by the Transport Minister Anthony Loke last night.
Redzuan, however, has been a strong supporter of the “flying car” stating it will open up opportunities for Malaysia to be a leader in the aviation industry and invited his sceptics in Parliament to attend the demonstration tomorrow.
CAAM, however, insist that all test flights must be conducted in accordance with the Malaysian Civil Aviation Regulation 2016 (MCAR 2016) to ensure safety.
“As much as CAAM supports the development of the aerospace industry in Malaysia, test and demonstration flights must be carried out in accordance with the Malaysian Civil Aviation Regulation 2016 (MCAR 2016) to ensure safety.
“CAAM would also like to state that we are open to consider the request for a test flight of the EH216 at an appropriate location, and with the support of the aircraft’s State of Design.”
Currently, there are four initiatives for the flying vehicle in the country.
The E-Hang 216 is a two-seater with 16 propellers in a coaxial double-baled design and has made over 1,000 manned flights by July 2018 and its maximum range flown was 8.8 km.
It can fly 25 minutes for a range of 30–40 km and is developed by the Chinese company Beijing Yi-Hang Creation Science & Technology Co. Ltd. in Guangzhou.