Female Chinese Jet-fighter Pilots Fulfill Dreams of Flying

March 18, 2015
Editor: Frank Zhao

On Malaysia's beautiful northwest island of Langkawi, four Chinese female jet- fighter pilots expressed their confidence that their debut show outside of China would be successful, which will further fulfill their dreams of flying and reward years of hard work to achieve this.

On the eve of the opening day of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA), He Xiaoli, Sheng Yifei, Yu Xun and Tao Jiali, the four Chinese female pilots, replete in military uniform and high in spirit, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that they feel lucky and honored to perform at LIMA, a major aerospace exhibition in southeast Asia, and the first such performance by Chinese female pilots outside China.

"Our responsibility is also heavy as we are showcasing the strength, tenacity and grace of Chinese female pilots, while simultaneously also representing the Chinese army," said Sheng Yifei.

The four Chinese pilots, who already had over 800 hours of flying experience before they joined in the Bayi acrobatic team of the Air Force of the People's Liberation Army, recalled the hardships in training.

"In the beginning, the intensive training for improving strength and endurance, and the drills in which you have to keep very close distance between planes, put a great amount of mental pressure on me," said Sheng, from China's northeastern Zhejiang Province.

"Flying a jet-fighter is of high risk and very challenging. It requires not only superlative technique but also high mental agility and aptitude. In this regard, it makes no difference whether you are male or female. Therefore, we have to work hard to meet all the technical requirements and strengthen our mental faculties," said He Xiaoli, who comes from China's southwestern province of Sichuan -- famous for its pandas.

"The intensive training we received laid a solid foundation for our stunt flying and also paved the way to reaching our goals," said Yu Xun, adding that the hardships they have gone through in their training was a highly-worthwhile experience.

Talking about their joy and pleasure in jet-fighter stunt flying, Tao Jiali said, "when we are flying we can see the fabulous scenery of the earth; the magnificent mountains and rivers of our country, which is something that we could not enjoy if we chose different careers. With these beautiful pictures in mind, I feel all the hardships and difficulties we have gone through are worthwhile," she said.

When asked about their dreams for the future, their answers all revolved around flying. He Xiaoli said: "My dream is to fly China' s most modern fighters all my life." Sheng Yifei said her dream is to perform at international aerospace exhibitions. Yu Xun expressed the hope that Bayi Acrobatic flying team will become stronger. Tao Jiali's dream, meanwhile, is that her performance be seen more often outside China.

The four female pilots are as ambitious as they are confident. Refusing to tail their male counterparts, they seem bound to fly into the hearts of their Chinese fans and, most likely, the hearts and minds of the international aviation community.

(Source: Xinhua)

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