China's First Crew of Female Jet Fighter Pilots Ready for Service

January 20, 2015
Editor: Arnold Hou
China's First Crew of Female Jet Fighter Pilots Ready for Service
China's first crew of 10 female jet fighter pilots are ready to enter service after four new female pilots graduated at an airbase on January 15 in Jinan — capital city of east China's Shandong Province — and six others finished their courses at an airbase in Shenyang, capital city of northeast China's Liaoning Province. [Chinanews]

China's first crew of 10 female jet fighter pilots are ready to enter service after four new female pilots graduated at an airbase on January 15 in Jinan — capital city of east China's Shandong Province — and six others finished their courses at an airbase in Shenyang, capital city of northeast China's Liaoning Province.

The four pilots joined the front line of combat troops on January 16.

In September 2008, 33 female fighter jet pilots were selected out of 150,000 candidates who had a minimum of a high school education. In the following four years, the 33 selected candidates finished nearly 100 courses, ranging from aviation theory of flight to parachuting and field survival. They then received one year of training on how to fly advanced trainer aircrafts; and at the end of the year, 16 members received a dual bachelor's degree in engineering and military.

Subsequently, the 16 female graduated members underwent tactical training and fighter modification training — with the same requirements as their male counterparts — for one and a half years at the airbases in Jinan and Shenyang. In the end, 10 out of the 16 members passed the final assessments with outstanding marks. They will be flying advanced domestic fighter planes.

When interviewed, the female pilots expressed that upon coming into contact with the supersonic fighter jets for the first time after entering flight school, they faced numerous challenges in their training techniques, morale and overall health, even experiencing symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. However, after a month of keeping with the program, they were able to overcome the difficulties that plagued them at the beginning.

In 2005, China's air force began to recruit female combat pilots, following the global trend to enable women to enter military air services. Liu Yang, China's first woman in space, also served as a female pilot in the air force before being selected as an astronaut.

Data shows China has put nine batches of female pilots — 545 individuals — though air force training since women were first permitted to enroll in flight schools in 1951, with 328 of them having graduated and 52 currently serving. These female pilots have completed various missions, ranging from flying transport planes and conducting air detection to military fighting exercises and providing rescue and relief work in emergencies.

(Source: Chinanews/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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