Foreign and Military Affairs

Air Force trains 3rd-generation pilots

Updated: 2011-07-13 19:40


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BEIJING - The Air Force of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is now studying a new training program for the pilots of its third-generation fighter jets, according to Air Force headquarters.

The country's first group of third-generation fighter pilot cadets recently completed their academic studies and military training in an experimental Air Force training program. They are expected to become qualified pilots after more training in Air Force combat units, according to the headquarters.

Fighter pilots typically go through 10 years of training, including academic study and combat training. However, the new training program shortens the period to five to seven years, according to Wang Yingzhong, president of an Air Force pilot academy responsible for carrying out the experimental program.

The new program also keeps the trainees in the air more often. Total flying hours have increased by over 42 percent under the new program, Wang said.

The new program has allowed the academy to train more pilots at a time, increasing this year's number of graduates by 94.3 percent, Wang said.

The new program also adds new graduation criteria for cadets, requiring them to master 10 aerial combat skills in addition to their academic training, Wang said.


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