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Female Students Offered Higher Aviation Education

Five young women have been picked up as the first female Chinese university students to be trained into civil aviation pilots.


The five students were selected by the Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUA), which admitted only male students before, from among some 200 candidates after strict examinations.


The university is based on the outskirts of Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan Province.


With an average height of 1.72 meters and an age of 18 on average, the five students are all in good shape and form, said Chen Dahuo, deputy secretary of the Communist Party Committee of CAFUA.


When they graduate, Chen noted, they will be certified as co-pilots.


Candidates had to undergo an interview and a rigid medical examination first, and those who had passed were later given a psychological test and finally a written examination, according to Zhao Tingyu, dean of CAFUA.


Besides a systematic training in aviation, they are also expected to have a good command of English after their four years of learning, Zhao said.


Compared with male pilots, female pilots possess particular advantages and quality in patience and carefulness, though physically they might not be as strong and courageous as their male colleagues, said Chen Beibei, a woman captain with China Airlines of Taiwan who was invited to give a lecture at CAFUA.


The development of modern aviation technology has somewhat narrowed the gap in physical strength between male and female pilots, and managing ability is becoming increasingly important for a pilot, Chen said.


All the five students were recruited from within Sichuan Province, but Zhao disclosed that next year the recruitment will be targeted at the whole country and the number will also rise to a maximum of 10.


Founded in 1956, CAFUA is regarded as a major training ground of China's pilots. Over 90 percent of China's pilots graduated from the university attached to the National Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC). The university has also trained more than 5,000 competent special aviation technicians for the country.


(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2003)

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