Hong Kong lawmaker ‘Fat Boss’ Christopher Cheung makes it into US$200,000 EHang drone but it’s a tight squeeze
Legco delegation visits tech company in Guangzhou, so heaviest man in group tries single-person aircraft for size
Trying a US$200,000 (HK$1.56 million) one-person drone for size was just too good an opportunity to miss for Hong Kong lawmaker and stockbroker “Fat Boss” Christopher Cheung Wah-fung while on a tour of mainland China.
Cheung and fellow lawmakers on a five-city tour of Guangdong province enjoyed a moment of fun on Sunday as they visited a technology company in Guangzhou which develops drones that can carry up to two people.
After an official from EHang Intelligent Technology gave the delegation – including 23 pro-establishment and nine pan-democrat lawmakers, as well as four Hong Kong ministers – a brief introduction, Cheung, weighing more than 200 pounds, tried to squeeze into the cabin.
“Go for it, Fat Boss,” some legislators cheered, calling Cheung, widely believed to be the heaviest member of the Legislative Council, by his nickname.
They gave Cheung a round of applause after he managed to take the pilot seat, although his belly was nearly pushing against the control panel and there was little room to manoeuvre.
The Democratic Party’s Lam Cheuk-ting, who at more than 6ft tall is one of the loftiest members of Legco, also managed to get into the cabin.
A senior employee of EHang said the drone could carry a maximum weight of about 400 pounds.
The aircraft did not take off, even though company officials said the drones previously flew successfully in tests.
An EHang spokeswoman said the drone could fly continuously for 25 minutes at a maximum speed of 130km/h, meaning that it could cover a maximum distance of about 50km.
She also said a one-man drone could cost about US$200,000 and a two-man model about US$250,000. But EHang has no plan to sell them in China as the law might need to be changed to make such means of flying legal.
EHang also programmed its mini-drones so that with dozens, or hundreds of drones, they can form specific Chinese characters and symbols in the air to create a light show at night.
Business sector lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung said: “Rather than having firework displays in Hong Kong every year, we should replace them with drone displays!”
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah, a member of the delegation, joked that Lam’s idea could be a good one for Hong Kong.