PLA to intensify aeronautic courses to cultivate pilots

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Wearing white helmets and blue flying uniforms, the pilot trainees goose-stepped toward the center stage of China's National Day military parade.

The 352 pilot trainees, 25 in each of 14 rows and two vanguards, were selected from students of the People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s Aviation University of Air Force based in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province.

The PLA has established academies to select and cultivate pilots for the world's largest air force in terms of the number of aircraft.

Ma Chunbo, an Air Force officer in charge of pilot training, told Xinhua that the Air Force's Aviation University will increase two new study courses since this fall semester for students who usually receive four-year studies in the university before they are recruited by air squadrons.

"The two new courses are aircraft power engineering and electronic warfare command. We will introduce four more subjects in the coming three years to adapt the trainees to a fast-changing equipment upgrading," Ma said.

The intensified professional education for the PLA's pilot trainees has been called by increasingly sophisticated weaponry of the Air Force that requires information-savvy talents.

A trainee who only has a strong body and skillful manipulation of the aircraft's machinery is not competent enough, Ma added.

Passing through rounds of scrutiny both physically and politically, the trainees will become pilots and even astronauts to carry out China's future manned space missions.

Chinese fledgling MiG pilots in the Korean War (1950-1953), some of whom only had a couple of flight hours, stunned many ace pilots of the United States by shooting down more than 300 enemy aircraft.

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