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First female jet fighter pilots to debut at National Day parade

A total of 16 Chinese female jet fighter pilots will take part in the National Day parade to be held in October to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, a military source said today.

The pilots will begin preparation for the parade soon.

The pilots are the country's first batch of female jet fighter pilots. Previous female pilots recruited by the Air Force of People's Liberation Army (PLA) were mostly assigned to cargo aircraft piloting, navigation or telecom services.

The 16 pilots, aged 21 to 24, graduated after almost four years of training from the Jinzhou-based Third Army Aviation Institute, the alma mater of China's astronauts Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming.

All China's taikonauts, or astronauts, were selected from the country's jet fighter pilots. Zhang Jianqi, deputy chief commander of China's manned space project, said early in March that the country was selecting a new batch of taikonauts, which may include its first Chinese female taikonaut.

China has so far recruited 545 female pilot cadets, 52 of which are currently in service.


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