Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Chinese air force recruiting 40 female pilot cadets

China's air force began the recruitment of 40 female pilot cadets, its 10th such drive, on Friday.

The air force will choose from healthy high-school graduates between 16 and 19 with a height between 1.65 to 1.75 meters and a weight heavier than 46 kg as well as good eyesight, said a statement from the Pilots Recruitment Bureau of the Air Force of People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The PLA first recruited female pilots in 1951. The last recruitment drive took in 30 cadets in 2008, bringing the total to 543.

The recruitment will be carried out in 20 provincial divisions across the country, up from 16 divisions on the previous occasion, the statement said.

Besides physical requirements, the air force also raised academic requirements, it said.

The recruitment is expected to end in July.

The Chinese air force has been giving female pilots more demanding duties, such as combat missions, air refueling, airborne early warning and electronic reconnaissance, besides traditional posts in piloting cargo aircraft, navigation or telecom services.

Last August, five female fighter pilots completed their first solo flights on board the domestically manufactured J-10 fighter jet.

And last June, China sent its first female astronaut, Liu Yang, into space. Liu, then 33, had been a PLA Air Force pilot.

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