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Recently Cessna Aircraft Corporation proudly exhibited their new Skycatcher model 162 Light Sport Aircraft at the Oshkosh, Wisconsin annual Fly-In.  The aircraft was greeted with great interest and Cessna had several of their senior personnel at the event to explain the details of the aircraft to interested potential customers and other pilots.

Cessna left out one key fact.  Even at that time Cessna CEO, Jack Pelton, already had plans to manufacture the aircraft in the People's Republic of China by government-owned Shenyang Aircraft Corporation.  Yet, just two days ago, and months after the spectacular unveiling at Oshkosh, and the hundreds of advanced orders, did Cessna make the announcement of PRC manufacture.

Again, faced with an opportunity to make an innovative and highly anticipated new manufactured product, one of our valuable American companies chooses to further dilute our national manufacturing base.  At the pace of these decisions one wonders if there will be any high quality manufacturing jobs left in America.  It seems economic suicide is a path eagerly followed in America.

It will continue if we surrender and just let it happen. But I hope that pilots are going to represent a change in tone. I hope that pilots understand better the strategic threat this represents to our nation.  A threat far worse than merely another round of manufacturing jobs going outside the nation.

My grim view isn't because this airplane is being manufactured overseas. I wouldn't really care if Cessna announced it would be manufactured in Canada, Mexico, Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, or Australia. These are democratic nations and with the exception of the Ukraine are solidly so. And I have hope that the Ukraine will resist the pressures of Putin's Russia and remain so.

But the PRC is a horrible authoritarian government. So, it is not just that we are exporting the manufacturing overseas, it is that Jack Pelton and his overlords at Textron have decided to have an American aircraft manufactured by a Communist authoritarian government.

I remind people how callous and inhumane this government is. The Dahli Lama is still living in exile and the PRC government has tried several times to have him assassinated. Tibet is still under military occupation despite never being one iota a threat to the PRC. The PRC still is voicing every intention of invading democratic Taiwan and is so arrogant about it that it threatens the United States when we sell even modest arms to Taiwan.

Three weeks ago the PRC government refused to allow two US Navy destroyers safe harbor to escape a storm. This forced these ships to refuel at sea during the storm, which threatened the lives of our own sailors unnecessarily. Further, this PRC decision is a clear violation of standing international maritime law which requires granting safe harbor to all ships at sea to escape a storm. This is the PRC's idea of humanity! If they will endanger our US naval personnel, what compassion do you think they'll have for us as GA pilots!

Several years ago, the PRC ordered its fighters to intercept one of our P-3 Orions flying in international airspace and ordered its pilots to violate ICAO intercept laws to intimidate our crews. One of their pilots performed this stupid maneuver in a sloppy manner and collided with our P-3. The pilot killed himself with this maneuver and forced our P-3 to execute an emergency landing at a Chinese airbase.

The PRC interned our crew and violated our national sovereignty by boarding our aircraft at gunpoint! Want a final indignation? The fighter that this PRC pilot collided into our P-3 was manufactured by the same company that Cessna has contracted with!

The PRC government arrests its own citizens for carrying Bibles without a permit. They arrest people for refusing to get mandated abortions and then force the abortions on them.

This goes way beyond economics. It transcends economics and gets to the political reality that the PRC is no ally of the United States. This is a decision that ignores every other facet of reality in favor of cold-hearted economic profit on a short term.

Given how badly the PRC encourages piracy of software and also violates copyright and patents, it's only a matter of time before SAC steals everything it can from Cessna and manufactures the aircraft by itself, violating their contract with Cessna.

Jack Pelton is an idiot! Someone at Cessna had to explain all this to him but he doesn't care. And that's why he's an idiot. He foolishly thinks a simple economic agreement can change the entire political dynamic at work within China. Somewhere inside the PRC now are a group of highly placed and wealthy Communist politicians who are laughing their arses off at us stupid and greedy Americans.

When do we wise up? If not now, then I think we're done as a viable economic nation within a generation. It will be a sharper and faster self-destruction than Great Britain suffered after World War II. At least the Brits had the good excuse of being bled white and bankrupted by two world wars.

Our excuse?  Nothing other than pure greed. It's really something to be ashamed of, but we've got too many ignorant people who can't see two feet ahead of them fortified by those raking in the extra money who are too busy lining their pockets to care!

Meanwhile, many Americans, who do see the reality, feel disenfranchised from power to affect any repair while there remains something worth saving.  The situation calls for a loud and clear message, and it is hoped that general aviation pilots revolt and send that message to Cessna in a sharp manner, one that grabs the attention of all American corporations.

-- Ken Stallings

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