Chinese female combat pilots to debut at National Day Parade

April 2nd, 2009 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Jinzhou (China), April 2 (Xinhua) China’s first batch of female combat pilots will debut at the National Day Parade in October this year, an official said Thursday.
Sixteen female fighter jet pilots will participate in this year’s National Republic Day Parade. They are the country’s first batch of female combat pilots, the military said.

Female pilots recruited earlier by the Air Force have been assigned only for cargo aircraft duties.

The pilots, aged 21 to 24, were graduated from the Third Army Aviation Institute in Jinzhou.

Chinese astronauts Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming took flying lessons at the institute. All Chinese astronauts were selected from among the country’s jet fighter pilots.

Zhang Jianqi, deputy chief commander of China’s manned space project, said early in March that the country was selecting a new batch of astronauts, and may include its first Chinese female taikonaut.

China has so far recruited 545 female pilots, of which 52 are currently in service.

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