Saturday, November 15, 2014

People's Liberation Army Air Force increases its number of female fighter pilots

With four of its female pilots flying with the Auguest First aerobatic team during the 10th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition held in Zhuhai between Nov. 11-16, the PLA Air Force is trying to recruit more women to fly its fighters, according to Voice of the Strait, based in Fuzhou, Fujian province.

Cao Zhenzhong, the leader of August First told the Voice of the Strait that the requirements for females to become fighter pilots for the PLA Air Force are no different from those of males. He said that the female pilots must train as hard as their male counterparts. In addition, Cao said that the sorties the female cadets fly during their trainings have to be increased as well. This is the price they must pay to become true airwomen.

To become a pilot, a woman must be physically and psychologically strong according to Cao. He said that all female cadets have four days of gym training every week. During those trainings, they are asked to make 50m, 100m, 800m or 3,000m runs without any stopping, to make their muscles stronger. Since 1951, a total of 500 female pilots have been recruited to join the PLA Air Force. In May of 2005, China announced its new policy to allow women to be trained as fighter pilots for the first time.

Shen Jinke, the spokesperson of the PLA Air Force said that China will continue the training of female fighter pilots and encourage more women to join the service. Those four female pilots flying J-10s for the August First aerobatic team are the first-generation female fighter pilots trained in 2005. By allowing female to become pilots of combat aircraft, China is able to show the world that the Chinese women are as independent as women from Western nations such as the United States and Russia.

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