PLA Air Force's first female flight instructors begin teaching pilots
Source: China Daily
Editor: Chen Zhuo
The People's Liberation Army Air Force's first female flight instructors began training students late last month, the Air Force said in a statement released on Friday.
Several female fighter jet pilots were selected in August for flight instructor training at the Aviation University of the PLA Air Force, and they passed qualification tests in February, it said.
The instructors are graduates of the university and can fly basic trainer and advanced trainer planes as well as fighter jets.
They have been training flight students in CJ-6 basic trainer aircraft since late March, the Air Force said.
The Chinese military enrolled its first female pilots in 1951, and about 580 female aviators in 10 generations have joined the Air Force since then. The first seven generations of female pilots only flew transport planes, but some have been selected to operate fighter jets since the eighth generation.
In the selection for the 10th generation in 2013, the Air Force selected 38 women who graduated from high school that year and sent them to its Aviation University. After five years of strict training, 17 graduated and qualified as fighter jet pilots.
Thirty-five female students are currently learning to fly at the Aviation University. After graduation, some will become the 11th generation of female pilots.
Wu Peixin, a Beijing-based observer of military aviation, said the female instructors must have developed rich experience and skills in operating various types of planes to qualify as flight instructors－a truly demanding job.
"Generally speaking, women are more patient and more attentive to details, and these traits are useful in flight training," he said. "Moreover, female students are likely to feel more relaxed and encouraged when they are trained by female instructors."
Wu said the recruitment and deployment of more women in aviation units appeared to be a trend in the military.
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