China's Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA) has begun flight testing a new five-seat, single-engined general aviation aircraft, writes Brendan Sobie.

The Sky Car made its maiden flight in May, capping years of development. NUAA, which has previously developed ultralight aircraft and unmanned air vehicles, has set up a Nanjing-based company to market its first piston-powered aircraft to civilian and government operators.

Industry sources say the aircraft will probably be manufactured in Hongdu because NUAA does not have production facilities. The prototype aircraft is powered by a Continental engine, but sources say a variant of the Lycoming IO-540 will later be offered.

The low-wing Sky Car is designed to take off at a weight of up to 1,600kg (3,530lb) and cruise up to 4h at 135kt (250km/h). It is 8.14m (26.7ft) long with a 10.2m-long wingspan.

The Sky Car joins the similarly sized Shijiazhuang Little Eagle in China's budding general aviation market. The Little Eagle is being marketed as a trainer with two-seat, four-seat and six-seat variants under development.

Source: Flight International