Thu, Jan 26, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Aeronautics developer Mike Hua dies aged 92

IMPORTANT POLICIES:Mike Hua last year said Taiwan has aeronautics technology and know-how, but lacks the financial backing it needs to boost the industry

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff writer, with CNA

General Mike Hua, known as the Father of IDF fighter jet, is pictured on April 3 last year. The Air Force legend died on Tuesday in Taichung at the age of 92.

Photo: CNA

Mike Hua (華錫鈞), one of the developers of Taiwan’s Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), died on Tuesday at the age of 92, the air force and Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) said.

Hua was born in 1925 in Wuxi, China. He was one of the first Republic of China (ROC) pilots to enroll in the US Air Force’s Lockheed U-2 pilot training school and also qualified as a pilot on North American Aviation’s F-86 Sabres.

Hua flew covert reconnaissance missions over Chinese airspace with the ROC Air Force’s 35th Black Cat Squadron.

In 1964, he enrolled in Indiana’s Purdue University aeronautical engineering program, where he earned a doctorate.

Hua returned to Taiwan in 1969 to design aircraft for the ROC Air Force, contributing to the development of the AT-3 and the IDF as the head of the Air Force Industrial Development Center, now known as the AIDC.

In 1982, then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) promoted him to the rank of general for his success in designing the IDF.

In his latter years, Hua sponsored domestic military aviation research and development, donating NT$15 million (US$477,981 at the current exchange rate) to National Cheng Kung University in 2012 and establishing the Hua Hsia Chun Aeronautical Engineering Foundation last year.

“Taiwan has sufficient technological know-how to make aeronautics an economic development priority,” Hua said last year at the launch of his namesake foundation, adding that Taiwan should have its own satellite program.

“However, Taiwan’s aeronautical industry is only partially subsidized by the Ministry of National Defense and not by the Ministry of Economic Affairs,” he said, calling on the economics ministry to support the development of an aviation industry.

Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) on Tuesday said Hua had made major contributions to the nation’s aviation industry, adding that development of military aviation and warships are among President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) most important policies.

The AIDC said it would assist Hua’s family with funeral arrangements.

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