The Other Black Helicopters

We all know that people are the same wherever you go. It's especially true of China's super-wealthy elite, who are just like you and me. Except they fly around on secret private helicopters in complete disregard of all local laws.

A money quote-littered story in the New York Times reports on China's newest micro-trend: black fliers, or hei fei. That is, wealthy private aircraft owners who fly clandestinely, sans flight plan or official permission, occasionally slamming into military and commercial aircraft in the process. Oh come on. Like you've never done that.

In China, however, there's a very good reason for it. (Assuming you are super-rich.) Because getting permission to fly private aircraft is such a hassle in China, and the super-rich can afford the fines in the unlikely event they get caught (and of course because rolling up in the Bentley is such a déclassé move) they just take off. It's the fastest way to get to the golf course, and besides, as one hei fei tells the Times, "secret flying is like secret love."

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