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Salute to female fighter jet pilots


By Liang Tao:
For most Chinese people, flying the most advanced stealth fighter jet, soaring in the blue sky, would be a beautiful but far-fetched dream. 30-year-old fighter pilot Yu Xu not only realized that dream, but became the first female pilot to fly a J-10 in China. But unfortunately,on November 12, 2016, Yu Xu, who had just returned from the 11th Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong province, died in a flight training accident in Hebei province.


Shortly after that, hundreds of millions of Weibo users and Wechat users paid their respects in various ways online, recalling the heroine's inspirational story.

The loss of Yu Xu has made people feel the hardship and risks of female fighter pilots. They are often referred to as "God's favored ones," but it's extremely difficult to become one of them.

Flying a fighter jet is definitely a cause for the brave. It's hard to become a fighter-jet pilot, and harder still for women to become a qualified fighter-jet pilot. Looking at the global air force, there are few female fighter jet pilots. Including Yu Xu, China had only four women capable of flying the third generation J-10.

With no exaggeration, the selection of female fighter pilots is worthy of the saying of "one in a million." In 2005, the Air Force recruited the first batch of female fighter-jet students. Only 35, including Yu Xu, were selected and secured the rare opportunity to study further in the flight college out of 200,000 high school graduates.

The selection criteria and training to become a fighter pilot are extremely rigorous, pushing a student's physical and psychological limits. The physical testing was designed by and for men, putting female students at a disadvantage. Thus, being a qualified female fighter jet pilot means you have to face more challenges.

The new generation of fighter jets is the crystallization of advanced technology and a comprehensive test of the pilot's physical condition, psychological quality, theoretical knowledge and operating skills. The existence of any tiny weaknesses is fatal. Yu Xu was singled out with the other 34 female students, who were not only required to finish the four-year college courses in two years time, but also constantly needed to participate in endurance, strength and even survival training.

Pilots are divided into men and women, but there is no gender differences in technology requirements for flying a fighter jet. Female pilots and their male colleagues have usually undertaken training in accordance with the same teaching programs and the same standards. From theoretical knowledge to fierce air combat, female pilots have to take all the subjects without any absence, even though some individual subjects have a higher standard for females.

Overload resistance is the biggest test that all female pilots have to face. Modern fighter jets have been designed with the maximum overload capacity of "9G," equivalent to 9 times the pilot's weight added to himself or herself. The typical female body has less muscle mass and more fat compared to their male counterparts, and women have less physical strength, on average, as a result. Thus, the overload resistance test is extremely difficult for female pilots. Once the overload exceeds a student's tolerable range, they will experience "gray" (eyes can not see clearly) or even "black" (loss of vision) phenomenon. The consequences are terrible.

Quite a few people have questioned why women should be involved in such a dangerous profession. The most important reasons may be that women have some basic qualities which are not owned by men, including carefulness and sensitivity. These advantages usually make them outscore their male counterparts in precise instrument utility, terrain recognition, and weapon control.

In one word, increasing the number of female fighter jet pilot has become a basic consensus throughout the world. After one and another round of harsh selections, Yu Xu and her three classmates graduated in April, 2009, during which China became the eighth country in the world possessing its own female fighter-jet pilots.

The heroines deserve our respect. Salute to the heroines! Salute to Yu Xu!




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Salute to female fighter jet pilots - 2016-11-16

By Liang Tao: For most Chinese people, flying the most advanced stealth fighter jet, soaring in the blue sky, would be a beautiful but far-fetched dream. 30-year-old fighter pilot Yu Xu not only realized that dream, but became the first female pilot to fly a J-10 in China. But unfortunately,on November 12, 2016, Yu Xu, who had just returned from the 11th Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong province, died in a flight training accident in Hebei province.








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