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Air scare as top jet forced to land

A JIAN-10 (Fighter-10), China's most advanced military jet, had to make a forced landing during a training flight after engine failure, China Central Television reported yesterday.

When the pilot, Li Feng, was performing a difficult manoeuver in the fighter on March 7 at a height of 4,500 meters, a warning popped up on the screen, CCTV said.

Li, an air force deputy regiment commander, realized the plane might lose power at any time and requested to return to base after a quick check on the engine.

The engine failed when the fighter jet was 7 kilometers from the airport. Then the plane began to descend at a speed of 25 meters per second, the report said.

Parachute fails

Striving to keep the aircraft in a correct position for landing, Li steered the fighter on to the runway.

Though the drag parachute failed to work, the pilot managed to bring the plane to a stop after it taxied down the runway for 1,400 meters, the report said, noting that the forced landing took 104 seconds.

China unveiled the Jian-10 in January 2007, heralding the third generation of Chinese fighter aircraft.

Military observers say the Jian-10 is not a match for the United States' fourth-generation fighter aircraft in performance but its basic design and onboard equipment are comparable to those of mainstream fighter aircraft in the West.

The Air Force has decided to bestow Li Feng with a first-class merit and an honorary medal for his outstanding performance as a pilot.


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